crimesider

Victims of Santa Barbara shooting, stabbing spree remembered

The three young men who shared an apartment with Elliot Rodger were planning to move out because they found him such a difficult roommate. But before they could do that, he stabbed them to death.

The roommates were among six University of California, Santa Barbara students Rodger killed during Friday night's rampage in the Isla Vista neighborhood.

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Weihan "David" Wang
Fremont Christian School

Weihan "David" Wang, Cheng Yuan "James" Hong and George Chen were all from the San Francisco Bay Area, all were studying computer science, and all came from Chinese immigrant families.

And it seems that they all had trouble with Rodger.

"That guy was always playing music very loud in the middle of the night," Sherry Fang, a friend of Wang's family, told KNTV-TV on Monday. "They complained to the manager of the apartment and they were planning to move out."

"Normally, they don't talk to each other," Wang's mother, Jinshuang "Jane" Liu, told the station. "They don't have much interaction."

The tearful mother said her only son was supposed to come home to Fremont for the summer, go on a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park and celebrate his 21st birthday in July. The station said the father, Charlie Wang, could only stand in the doorway, hugging his wife and uttering deep, guttural cries.

Wang, 20, and his parents immigrated to the country from China 10 years ago. He graduated from Fremont Christian School and was studying computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara.

Liu called her son "the joy of the family," someone who aced his college aptitude exams and never bragged about it.

"I wish I could go in exchange of my son's life," she said. "I'm just heartbroken. You can't imagine for a mom."

Fremont Christian School posted a tribute to Wang on its website.

"He was a young man of exemplary character and high academic achievement who loved basketball and was beloved by faculty, staff, and students," the post said.

At Lynbrook High School in San Jose, the principal asked for a moment of silence Tuesday morning in honor of Hong, a 2012 graduate of the school.

"Kids are reeling now, miss him and are being affected by his tragic passing," Fremont Union High School District spokeswoman Sue Larson told CBS San Francisco.

Hong, 20, grew up in Taipei and was pursuing a degree in computer science, according to his Facebook page.

Friends said he was a hard-working and bright student who was always willing to help others.

"He would always smile at everyone he knows," said Han Chou, who knew the victim at UC Santa Barbara.

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Elliot Rodger's three roommates were found stabbed to death in their apartmnet.
CBS San Franciso

His high school drama teacher remembered him as a quiet student who was happy to work backstage to ensure that his classmates could shine.

"James was shy, quiet, gentle, sweet, kind and most respectful," Laurel Cohen told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. "Not someone who easily could engage in conversation. But I remember his earnest nature, conviction, honesty and mostly his smile; it lit up a room."

Hong had a bizarre clash with Rodger in January, when Rodger accused him of stealing three candles, valued at $22, said Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County district attorney.

When Hong said he didn't know where the candles were, Rodger performed a citizen's arrest and called police. Sheriff's deputies found the candles on Hong's bed. He was arrested and charged with a petty theft infraction.


Chen, 19, who was also studying computer science, graduated from Leland High School in San Jose and was originally from Ottawa, Ontario.

His parents visited a makeshift memorial for the slain roommates in Isla Vista on Monday name and added their names in chalk on the sidewalk. They told KABC-TV the country needed tougher gun laws to avert another mass killing.

"We would die a hundred times, a thousand times, but we don't want our kids to get hurt," Chen's mother, Kelly Wang, said as she fought through tears. "This shouldn't happen to any family. This should be the last one in the United States."

A family friend said Chen, 19, was a gentle soul who had a fondness for working with children.

"He was a very good kid, very smart," Sherry Shih told the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday.

Delta Delta Delta sorority sisters Veronika Elizabeth Weiss, 19, and Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, were gunned down by Rodger as they walked in a group near the Alpha Phi sorority house. Rodger had pounded on the door of the Alpha Phi house, where police say he planned to begin a campaign of slaughter and "retribution" against women for rejecting him. But no one would let him into the Alphi House, so he opened fire at the group that included Weiss and Cooper.

When they heard reports of a shooting near the UC Santa Barbara campus, Weiss' parents became frantic. They used her "Find my iPhone app" to locate her cellphone. It turned out to be in the middle of one of the many crime scenes in Rodger's rampage.

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Veronika Elizabeth Weiss
Facebook

Weiss, 19, from Westlake Village, Calif., was a freshman at UCSB. She excelled at sports and was a math whiz, said her father, Bob Weiss.

"She wanted to be a financial wizard, and use her high aptitude with complicated math," he told the Los Angeles Times.

Weiss was a straight-A student in high school, where she played four sports - cross country, baseball, swimming and water polo.

"She was tough," Bob Weiss told the LA Times. "She was a big strong girl and she was tough."

"There was never a day I wasn't proud of her. Never a single day," he said.

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Katherine Breann Cooper
Facebook

Cooper, from Chino Hills, Calif., was preparing to graduate with a degree in art history. Known as Katie, she graduated from Ruben S. Ayala High School in 2010.

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."

Andrew Notohamiprodjo was Cooper's ballroom dance teacher three years ago and later supervised her as a teaching assistant in ballroom dance. Cooper was looking forward to graduating but planned to stay in town another year, he said.

"She was a lot of fun, super forward," he said.

Cooper graduated from Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills in 2010.

Another USCB student, 20-year-old Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, was shot and killed inside the IV Deli Mart. He was the last of the six people Rodger killed before dying of an apparently self-inflicted bullet wound, police said.

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CBS Los Angeles

"Chris was a really great kid," his father, Richard Martinez, said at a news conference Saturday where he choked back tears and eventually collapsed to his knees. "Ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken."

Michaels-Martinez, from Los Osos, Calif.,. was an English major who planned to go to London next year and to law school after graduation, his father said.

Martinez choked back tears as he spoke, then grew angrier 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!'"


Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had a composite image of the six victims that included an incorrect face. CBS News apologizes for the error.

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