San Jose's Leland High Plans Vigil For 2012 Graduate Killed In Isla Vista Rampage

Leland High School in San Jose is planning a candlelight vigil on Thursday in honor of George Chen, a 2012 graduate who was one of six people killed Friday by a deranged man near Santa Barbara, a school district spokeswoman said today.

The school and the Leland Bridge Parent Club will hold the vigil from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday on the campus's main quad, San Jose United School District spokeswoman Traci Cook said.

"I think they are expecting more than a thousand people," Cook said.

Cook said Chen's parents are not expected to attend but his grandmother will, and that his family has requested some special music.

Chen, 19, at student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, was one of three men killed inside an apartment by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who also lived in the apartment in the Isla Vista area outside Santa Barbara, according to police.

Rodger, 22, stabbed to death Chen, his roommate Cheng Hong, 20, a 2012 graduate of Lynbrook High School in San Jose, and Weihan Wang, 20, a graduate of Fremont Christian School in Fremont, police said.

He then gunned down two young women and a young man and injured 13 others in the rampage near the UCSB campus before apparently shooting himself to death inside his car, investigators said.

A page on Facebook created for the planned vigil for George at Leland, located at 6677 Camden Ave., mentions that candles will be provided by the Bridge Club but people may also bring their own.

"George Chen had his whole life ahead of him and now we want to make sure that everyone in the San Jose area can pay their respects," wrote Shayan Mahinfallah, the organizer of the event, on the Facebook page.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, 344 people had reported on Facebook that they planned to be at the vigil.

Illiad Rodriguez, George's former animation teacher at Leland, posted a short animation George produced while a student that featured a pencil drawing of a man walking and a bouncing ball that turns into a rabbit.

"I will always remember George's creativity, positive attitude and warm smile," Rodriguez wrote. "He was such a sweet person who made a positive impression on me and those who knew him. May he rest in peace."

Mahinfallah asked that anyone who wishes to say a few words about George or recite poetry at the vigil to email her at

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