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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 6:54 am | Fair 43º


UCSB Community Marks Third Anniversary of Isla Vista Massacre

Ceremony commemorates 6 students slain during Elliot Rodger's murderous rampage


Illuminated by a blue hue as night fell on Tuesday, more than 150 supporters held flame-less candles at Isla Vista’s Anisq'Oyo Park to commemorate the victims killed in the Isla Vista massacre.

Tuesday marked the third anniversary of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger's rampage, during which he murdered three men in his apartment and killed three more UC Santa Barbara students in a behind-the-wheel shooting rampage that left nine others injured.

The candlelight vigil was held to remember Christopher Michaels-Martinez, Veronika Weiss, Katie Cooper, Cheng-Yuan Hong, George Chen and Weihan Wang.

Some of the parents and family members of those killed on May 23, 2014, attended the ceremony to uphold the memory and honor their children.

“In many sleepless nights, I looked at George’s photo and touched his beautiful face,” said Wang's mother. “In the silence, I heard a voice that came from my heart. The voice said to me — go out and spread kindness, just as my son had done in his short life.”

Listeners shed tears. The group shared hugs and words of support.

Richard Martinez spoke about finding video footage of his son, Christopher, skydiving, recalling his son’s smile when he jumped out of the plane. 

“The video is the last thing I have that shows him alive,” Martinez said. “We are grateful for it.”

Under a pink sky and glorious sunset, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang spoke to the crowd in honor of the six students.

“Although gone in the flesh, they (the victims) live out in spirit and through our memories,” Yang said. “It has brought us to be strong, brave and unified. Our sorrow and our healing have shaped our past and will continue to help us shape the future.”

More than 1,000 days have passed since the killings, Yang said, and every week he gathers colleagues for meetings devoted to improving the safety and quality of life in the beachside community near UCSB.

Richard Martinez, who son Christopher Michaels-Martinez was among six UCSB students killed during the Isla Vista Massacre three years ago, speaks to the crowd Tuesday night during a cermony honoring the victims. Click to view larger
Richard Martinez, who son Christopher Michaels-Martinez was among six UCSB students killed during the Isla Vista Massacre three years ago, speaks to the crowd Tuesday night during a cermony honoring the victims. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

To date, Yang said, the group has gathered more than 150 times.

“There is not a single day that I don’t remember this tragedy,” Yang said. “We care about Isla Vista, deeply.”

First District County Supervisor Das Williams, whose hometown is Isla Vista, said the community must always remember the night of the massacre.

“The consequences of forgetting are too great to contemplate,” Williams said. “The pain of remembering is deep, but it has been worth it to remember.”

Staff from UCSB’s Counseling and Psychological Services were on hand to support attendees.

Jeanne Stanford, the director of C.A.P.S., offered her respect to the victim’s parents and loved ones, including those who could not attend in person. 

Stanford said she remembers the chaos and the fear in 2014. 

“I also remember how we came together as part of a resilient community,” Stanford said. “It’s only natural to feel all kinds of things — whether you knew someone involved in the tragedy or not. We want a caring community. Remember to be kind to yourself, be kind to others, remember to make meaning out of our collective outrage, shock and grief.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

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