January 29, 2023
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Thousands turn up in show of solidarity in Isla Vista


[EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated at 5:55 p.m. on May 25 with the names of the first three victims in the murder spree. The parents of one of the victims have requested that only their son’s initials be printed, and the article was updated at 11:05 p.m. to reflect that. The student is referred to below is “C.H.”]

Thousands of community and family members affected by Friday night’s tragedy in Isla Vista assembled in UC Santa Barbara’s Storke Plaza on Saturday evening to hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Elliot Rodger’s victims.

Just hours before, the small oceanside community was devastated by the news that Rodger, a 22-year-old Santa Barbara City College student, took the lives of six victims and himself in a murder spree that spanned 14 blocks. Following the candlelight ceremony held at the heart of the UCSB campus, mourners marched to Anisq’oyo Park in Isla Vista, where they shared memories of those they had lost.

Prominent public figures in attendance included UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young, Congresswoman Lois Capps, 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and City Councilmember Cathy Murillo, among others. The university estimated that about 4,000 people attended the vigil.

Rodger is believed to have stabbed three UCSB students to death in his apartment on the 6500 block of Seville Road to death before starting a shooting spree that killed three more people in the college town. The first three victims were C.H., 20, of San Jose, George Chen, 19, of San Jose, and Weihan Wang, 20, of Fremont, police said Sunday afternoon. C.H. and Chen were tenants in the apartment. Investigators are still working to determine if Wang was also a roommate or was visiting the apartment.

Before being fatally wounded by what authorities believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Rodger also shot three UCSB students to death in Isla Vista. He shot and killed 22-year-old Katie Cooper and 19-year-old Veronika Weiss in front of the Alphi Phi sorority house at 833 Embarcadero del Norte before claiming the life of Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, 20, while firing liberally through the windows of IV Deli Mart on Pardall Road.

Thirteen others were injured; four were treated and released from Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, while seven remain in Santa Barbara Valley Cottage Hospital according to the most recent information provided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Saturday afternoon.