Monday, October 24 , 2016, 11:55 am | Fair 67º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube

Local News

Victims of Murderous Rampage in Isla Vista to be Remembered with Botanic Garden, Sculptures

Within hours of May 23 tragedy, UC Santa Barbara alumnus is inspired to start Project IV Love and now leads a joint community effort to make it happen

Friends living in Isla Vista were en route to Jordan Killebrew’s Santa Barbara residence for a typical Friday night of fun last spring when news of a mass shooting disrupted the evening.

Like so many others, Killebrew stayed glued to CNN and news reports the next day, learning six college students that hailed from his alma mater of UC Santa Barbara had been killed in the May 23 shooting and stabbing rampage.

He felt helpless. The unreal feeling intensified during a day of collective sadness, through a night vigil and many messages of love exchanged between old classmates and friends.

“That’s my No. 1 fear in life,” the 25-year-old Los Angeles native said of helplessness. “I have all these resources in front of me. So, I should do something.”

By that Sunday night, Killebrew had created the Project IV Love website to collect donations so a permanent memorial to the victims could be created in Isla Vista.

An accompanying Facebook page logged 1,000 likes in a matter of hours.

Killebrew, who graduated in 2010 with an art degree, also went to work designing T-shirts for sale and banked $250 from employers at Santa Barbara’s to keep going.

As an active former participant in UCSB’s Associated Students and resident adviser in the dorms, Killebrew got in touch with student leaders and Katya Armistead, the university’s associate dean of student life and activities.

From there, Armistead introduced Killebrew to Isla Vista Recreation and Park District general manager Rodney Gould, who came up with the idea of installing a self-guided botanic tour on a brown grass and dirt area at People’s Park in the heart of IV near Embarcadero Hall.

Art students in a UCSB sculpture class will design six memorials to place along the walk, which the community will help plant with native succulents in a “planting day” this fall.

The parks district approved the plan last week, and Gould hopes planting will be done before winter.

“I’m so glad that they opted to do something that would add life and put smiles on people’s faces,” Gould said.

So far, Project IV Love has raised more than $7,500.

Woodstock’s Pizza in Isla Vista hosted a fundraiser for the project during finals week, donating every penny of the day’s sales, said co-owner Laura Ambrose.

She said more than $7,000 was brought in after large local corporations and UCSB departments got word of the pizza joint’s benefit.

The project has awarded proceeds to the Isla Vista Public Improvement Corporation, a sister organization of the park district, to get garden plans going.

“Although we never want to see this kind of violence in our community, and our hearts are broken by the tragedy of it all, we can take joy in seeing something beautiful come together that will live in perpetuity in our community and in our hearts,” Ambrose said.

Killebrew humbly credits the amazing supporters of the project, but Armistead said the alum’s passion made the memorial possible.

“He has such a great heart, and as an alum he wants to create something special for the community and remember the lives of those who were lost in the tragedy,” she said.

Killebrew hopes a trust will be set up to fund ongoing parks maintenance of the memorial, which will beautify a landscape that hasn’t seen some love since 1970.

“Our goal is that the park never dies,” he said. “I think this just speaks to the power of being a Gaucho. I want to permanently remember these lives.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >