Robert Kovacik, Kenny Holmes, Sue Monroe
Thousands of people paid tribute to the UC Santa Barbara students who were slain in a rampage on Friday. Robert Kovacik reports from Isla Vista for the NBC4 News at 11 on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
Thousands of people paid their respects at a memorial service on Tuesday for six UCSB students slain in a rampage on Friday.
Students, faculty, family and friends filled the Harder Stadium for the "Day of Mourning and Reflection" at UC Santa Barbara.
"Frankly, I wish I were not here today ... None of us wants to be here for an occasion like this, but we are here because a series of violent crimes took the lives of six of our students and injured nine more," said Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California system and former secretary of homeland security. "These were individuals who each left a mark on the world around them...
"As long as we hold them in our hearts they are not gone."
The school canceled classes on Tuesday, four days after the shootings and stabbings in the Isla Vista community by 22-year-old community college student Elliot Rodger, who had posted an Internet video outlining his plan to slaughter as many people as possible.
The father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez, 20, killed in Friday's rampage, called for an end to gun violence.
"Not one more!" Richard Martinez said from the podium to a standing ovation and chants repeating the mantra. "Too many people have died, and there should be not one more. How many more people are going to have to die in this situation before the problem gets solved?"
Rodger had legally obtained three semi-automatic handguns and still had 400 unspent rounds of ammunition when he shot himself to death in a shootout with deputies, authorities said.
Martinez also read statements from the families of two other slain students, Cheng Yuan Hong and Weihan Wang, both 20, in which they asked for prayers or blessings on the families of the victims and the killer.
"May we together create a peaceful world and let hatred be gone with the wind," the Hong family statement said.
Richard Martinez said his son was planning to spend his junior year in London next year and law school after graduation.
The shooting death of Michaels-Martinez followed the slayings of Veronika Weiss, 19, and Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, who were shot and killed outside the Alpha Phi sorority house. Weiss and Cooper were members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
Rodger fatally stabbed three men, Weihan Wang, 20; George Chen, 19, and C.H., whose family requested he be identified only by the initials.
Rodger, who outlined plans for what he called "retribution" in a lengthy manifesto and video posted on YouTube, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, according to investigators.
Wang's immediate plans included a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park.
Eventually, he wanted to start a business with his friends.
C.H. was studying computer engineering. A family friend described Chen, also studying computer science, as a gentle soul who had a fondness for working with children. Cooper was a talented painter about to graduate with a degree in art history.
Weiss excelled in math and was working toward a career in finance. She was remembered at a poolside ceremony Monday night at a high school swimming complex in Thousand Oaks, about 50 miles southeast of Santa Barbara. The first-year UCSB student was a standout athlete who played water polo at Westlake High School.
"She went into everything with such vitality and enthusiasm," said her father Bob Weiss. "She was strong, smart, had a great sense of who she was."
After hearing about the attack, the Weiss family traveled to Santa Barbara and found one of their daughter's sorority sisters at a hospital. With authorities offering no information, the family drove to one of 12 crime scenes and used a GPS app to track down Veronika’s iPhone.
The tracking feature led the family to the coroner's office.
"The kids keep dying," Bob Weiss said, adding that he was saddened for everyone involved in the violence, including the shooter and his family. "Guns showing up everywhere."
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown confirmed Rodger bought three handguns legally and that all of them were registered.
They were purchased in Burbank, Oxnard and Goleta, he said.
On Monday, Burbank police confirmed that Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives personnel served search warrants at the Burbank location.
Also on Tuesday, the parents of Weihan "David" Wang shared that their son had talked about moving out of the Isla Vista apartment he shared with Rodger. The UCSB student from Fremont did not talk much with Rodger, but was very close with the two victims.
"He was supposed to have come home for the summer soon," said his mother Jinshuang "Jane" Liu.