Santa Barbara Campus Begins “Process of Healing,” Vigils Set to Remember Slain Students

A candlelight vigil is planned Monday for one of the victims shot and killed outside a sorority house before the campus observes a Day of Mourning and Reflection

Students mourning six classmates - three from the Bay Area - killed in a violent rampage through the Southern California seaside college community of Isla Vista will gather for a candlelight vigil Monday night before a memorial service Tuesday evening at the University of California Santa Barbara campus stadium.

Six were killed and 13 were injured Friday night when the gunman, identified as 22-year-old Santa Barbara City College student Elliot Rodger, who documented his loneliness and his history of being scorned by women, went on a killing spree, authorities said.

Of the six, he stabbed three - two from San Jose and one from Fremont - to death in his apartment in Isla Vista, killed two young women at a sorority, and killed his final victim at IV Deli Mart.

He then killed himself in a shootout with sheriff's deputies; authorities said he was found in his BMW with a gunshot wound to the head . Elliot Rodger is the son of Peter Rodger, a Hollywood director who worked on the first "Hunger Games" movie.

The candlelight vigil at UC Santa Barabra scheduled for Monday night will honor 19-year-old George Chen, of San Jose; 20-year-old Cheng Yuan Hong, of San Jose; and 20-year-old Weihan Wang, of Fremont, who were stabbed before the shootings at an Isla Vista apartment, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department investigators said. Hong and Chen were listed on the lease as the gunman's roommates. Investigators were trying to determine whether Wang was a roommate or was visiting the apartment.

According to their Facebook pages, Hong was a 2012 graduate of Lynbrook High School and was studying computer engineering. Chen, originally from Ottowa, Ontario, graduated the same year from Leland High in San Jose and had been a camp counselor for the YMCA. Wang was briefly a student at American High School in Fremont before he transferred to a private school, James Morris, superintendent of the Fremont Unified School District, told the Mercury News.

The other three who were slain include:

  • Twenty-year-old student Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, of Los Osos. He was shot and killed when the gunman pulled up outside a deli and sprayed rounds into a crowd of customers.
  • Nineteen-year-old UC Santa Barbara student Veronika Weiss, a freshman, who played water polo at Westlake High School. Weiss was just completing her first year of classes at UCSB.
  • Twenty-two-year-old Katherine Breann Cooper of Chino Hills, who was standing outside her sorority house Friday night when they were shot and killed -- the first shooting victims in a drive-by shooting spree through the community of student residences west of the Santa Barbara school campus. Weiss and Cooper were  Alpha Phi sorority house sisters.

UCSB classes will not be in session Monday for the Memorial Day holiday and the school's chancellor announced that Tuesday has been declared a Day of Mourning and Reflection. Classes will be canceled and a memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT at Harder Stadium.

Thirteen other victims suffered gunshot wounds or were injured when gunman Elliot Rodger struck them with his BMW 3 series coupe.

A family friend confirmed to NBC News Sunday that Rodger's parents rushed to Isla Vista as the killings began after discovering a troubling manifesto that outlined plans for what Rodger called "retribution."

The 100-plus-page document railed against women and detailed his plans to go on a killing spree, said family friend Simon Astaire, who is a talent agent and media adviser. After seeing the document and a YouTube video titled "Retribution," in which Rodger vowed to get "revenge against humanity," Rodger's mother called her ex-husband and two decided to race to Isla Vista in search of their son, Astaire said.

They heard about the shootings during a radio report on their way to Isla Vista.

After the shootout and a crash that brought and end to the violence, deputies found three semi-automatic handguns along with 400 unspent rounds in the car. All were purchased legally.

As for the investigation, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department continues to speak with shooting witnesses and acquaintances of Rodger. They also are reviewing the department's contact with Rodger about one month ago when deputies questioned him at his apartment at the request of his family.

Rodger's family has disclosed their son was under the care of therapists.

"He convinced them that it was all a misunderstanding," Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Though Rodger told deputies that he was having social problems and was likely going to leave school, "he was able to convince them that he was not a threat to himself or to anyone else at the time."

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