Friday night’s shootings are still in the hearts of many in the California college town, Isla Vista. The unincorporated community of Santa Barbara County was brought to its knees by Elliot O. Rodger, age 22. Rodger went on a shooting spree after stabbing three men at his apartment. Two of the men at the apartment were roommates with Rodger and the third man was a visitor.
Cheng Yuan Hong, age 20 and George Chen, age 19 along with Weihan Wang, age 20 were the first three victims of Rodger’s rampage. All three men were students of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Three other students, who died of gunshot wounds inflicted by Rodger, were Katherine Cooper, age 22, Veronika Weiss, age 19 and Christopher Michaels-Martinez, age 20. Among the six students killed, another 13 were injured in the aftermath of the violence led by the young man. Police have stated the Rodger was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound bringing the toll of deaths to a total of seven.
Before the wake of the violence, Elliot Rodger had posted an online manifesto to the popular YouTube website. In the video, he makes his intentions of hate and violence evident, even saying he was planning on killing his roommates. He went on to say that he intended to kill other students who may not have accepted Rodger into the fold. Upon the many bags of evidence removed from young men’s apartment, there was one bag that was supposedly labeled in order to contain weapons that Rodger had stated he was planning on using against his roommates.
A neighbor of Rodger and his roommates described all three men as “quiet and friendly neighbors.” He went on to say that “they were very good kids that studied a lot and sat around playing video games.” In the wake of the investigation, the Los Angeles Times has published a portion of Rodger’s manifesto. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown stated that Elliot Rodger had experienced previous contact with law enforcement, including a welfare check requested by his family members.
In the midst of grieving for his son, Richard Martinez, father of shooting victim Chris Michaels-Martinez has expressed his outrage against the federal government. He stated that similar acts of violence that took place Friday night will continue until lawmakers take action to have more gun control. He went on to say that after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Congress has failed to act in keeping the mentally ill from obtaining guns. Gun rights advocates gave strong opposition to measures proposed to extend background checks for the sale of guns, the banning of assault weapons and limiting the capacities of ammunition magazines. The proposed measures did not pass the Senate in April 2013.
The University of California, Santa Barbara will be canceling Tuesday’s classes to remember the students of Friday night’s rampage shootings. They will also be offering counseling for students along with emergency housing for students who are displaced by the tragedy. The town of Isla Vista, California and the tragic death of six students last Friday night will forever be in the hearts of the community.
By Melissa Monk