Victims of Santa Barbara rampage mourned

Families and friends of six killed in a murderous rampage in Santa Barbara were trying to make sense of the violent attack two days after it shook the college town.

"Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don't think it will happen to your child until it does," a sobbing Richard Martinez said of his son, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, who was killed Friday night at the IV Deli Mart in Isla Vista. "His death has left our family broken."

Authorities say the suspect, Elliot Rodger, 22, stabbed three roommates to death at his apartment Friday night before starting his shooting spree. He was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Two other victims have been identified: Veronica Elizabeth Weiss, 19, and Katherine Breann Cooper, 22. Both were killed outside the Alpha Phi sorority house near the University of California-Santa Barbara campus. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told CNN on Sunday that investigators were still working on getting positive identifications and notifying relatives of the other victims.

Michaels-Martinez, of Los Osos, Calif., was killed when Rodger walked into the deli he was working at and shot him, authorities said. Martinez said he had spoken with his son — an English major who planned to go to London next year and to law school after graduation —just 45 minutes earlier.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Michaels-Martinez's father grew angry as he talked about gun laws and lobbyists.

"They talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live?" Martinez said. "When will enough people say: 'Stop this madness! We don't have to live like this! Too many people have died!' "

Martinez pulled out a photo of his son as a small child in a Chicago Cubs baseball uniform and said they used to call him "mini-Sammy Sosa," referring to the former Cubs star.

"Chris was a really great kid," his father said.

Friends said Michaels-Martinez, who served as residential adviser at a dorm last year, was the kind of guy who welcomed strangers into his home.

"You always think, 'Oh, that doesn't happen to me, that doesn't happen in my town. That's always just something on the news.' But that did happen and it's just, like, very overwhelming," Jeff Dolphin, Martinez's roommate, told KNBC-TV.

It's not clear whether Rodger knew Cooper and Weiss, but they were standing outside a sorority house he was targeting, authorities said.

Cooper, who was from Chino Hills, Calif., was about to graduate with a degree in art history. Her friend Courtney Benjamin said Cooper was a painter with an outgoing side.

"She was a self-proclaimed princess and I love her for that," Benjamin said. "And I know she has a crown on her head today."

Weiss was a first-year student from Westlake Village. While at Westlake High School, she was a member of the Westlake girls' water polo team, earning second-team All-Marmonte League honors her senior year, according to Thousand Oaks Acorn.

"She was always a happy person," said Eric Pursley, who worked with Weiss at a Target store in Thousand Oaks last year.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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