crimesider

Tearful plea from victim's dad in deadly rampage

Richard Martinez, whose son, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, was killed in mass shooting that took place in Isla Vista, Calif., breaks down as he talks to media outside Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Headquarters on May 24, 2014, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Jae C. Hong, AP

GOLETA, Calif. - A man whose son was among the victims killed in a shooting rampage near a California university quaked with grief and rage Saturday as he described his "lost and broken" family and the proliferation of guns he believes led to his son's death.

"Our son Christopher and six others are dead," Richard Martinez told reporters gathered outside a sheriff's station for a news conference the day after the shootings near the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the 20-year-old son was a sophomore. "You don't think it'll happen to your child until it does."

Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez was the last of six people killed by suspect Elliot Rodger before the gunman apparently shot and killed himself, authorities said.

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A window with bullet holes is pictured at the I.V. Deli Mart where Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez was killed
PHIL KLEIN, REUTERS

Martinez choked back tears as he spoke, then grew angrier as he talked about gun laws and lobbyists.

"The 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!"

He then punctuated his words as he said, "We should say to ourselves: 'Not! One! More!'" before dissolving into tears and falling to his knees as he stepped from the podium.

Martinez said he talked to his son just 45 minutes before he died inside the IV Deli Mart, where bullet holes and blood could still be seen Saturday. After already killing five others at his apartment and outside a sorority house, Rodger walked into the deli and shot Michael-Martinez, authorities said.

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Flowers on the sidewalk in front of I.V. Deli Mart
PHIL KLEIN, REUTERS

Michael-Martinez was an English major who planned to go to London next year and to law school after graduation, his father said.

He pulled out a photo of his son as a small child in 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," Martinez said. "Ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken."


It's not clear whether Rodger knew Katherine Cooper and Veronica Weiss, but they were standing outside a sorority house he was targeting and square in the path of his rampage, authorities said. They became the first ones fatally shot.

Rodger had stabbed and killed three male victims at his apartment already, then drove to the Alpha Phi sorority house, where he fired from across the street and shot three women who were nearby. One of them, whose name has not been released, was injured. Cooper, 22, and Weiss, 19, both UC Santa Barbara students, were killed.

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The Woman's Alpha Phi sorority house is seen after a series of drive-by shootings that left 6 people dead in the Isla Vista section of Santa Barbara, California May 24, 2014. Two of the fatalities and one of the wounded were shot outside the Alpha Phi house.
PHIL KLEIN, REUTERS

A pile of flowers grew on the lawn Saturday as crying students wandered up to the spot, shook their heads and hugged each other.

UCSB senior Kyley Scarlet, who lives next door and has served as president of her own sorority, said all three who were shot are sorority members, but neither of Alpha Phi nor her own.

Scarlet said she was very disturbed by the video describing his anger at sorority girls.

"It's hard thinking my actions, being part of a sorority, led him to do this," she said. "When I saw that video I was shaking and crying."

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