‘When will this insanity stop?’ grieving father asks after shooting rampage
(CNN) — Three men at an apartment, two women outside a sorority and one visitor to a deli were killed in a rampage Friday night in a college community near Santa Barbara, California, authorities said Saturday evening.
The two women were identified as Katherine Cooper, 22, and Veronika Weiss, 19, both students at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Christopher Martinez, 20, was killed at the deli, officials said.
Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a rampage in Isla Vista, a community near the university and Santa Barbara City College, stabbing three males at his residence and shooting others during a series of attacks Friday, Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters. Some of the injured were struck by the suspect’s car, authorities said.
Martinez’s father gave a wrenching statement to the news media Saturday afternoon.
He was “a really great kid” whose “death has left our family lost and broken,” Richard Martinez said.
“Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don’t think it will happen to your child until it does,” the visibly emotional parent said, his voice rising to a shout in obvious agony.
“Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the (National Rifle Association). They talk about gun rights — what about Chris’ right to live?” he continued.
“When will this insanity stop?” he asked. “When will enough people say stop this madness, we don’t have to live like this? Too many have died. We should say to ourselves — not one more.”
Police say the shooter also died.
“It would appear that he took his own life,” said Brown.
‘What a tragic loss’
Weiss’ Facebook page — with a banner promoting a sorority event — was filling with tributes Saturday evening.
“Rest in peace Veronika Weiss. Its not fair that life was taken from you in this manor. My thoughts are with your loved ones,” wrote one commenter.
“… You were ALWAYS smiling. And I thought you were beautiful. Where are you now?” wrote another.
“My condolences to the family… What a tragic loss… R.I.P.,” read a third.
Weiss was a graduate of Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California, according to her Facebook page.
Katie Cooper was with Weiss when the two were killed, reported CNN affiliate KTLA.
Cooper studied art history and archaeology at UCSB, according to her Facebook, KTLA said. The 22-year-old graduated from Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills in 2010, the affiliate said.
Shooter’s YouTube video titled ‘Retribution’
In a YouTube video he posted titled “Retribution,” Rodger announced his intent to commit mass murder at a sorority house at UCSB.
“On the day of retribution I’m going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB,” he said. “I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you.”
Police said 13 people were injured in the melee — four by vehicle, eight by gunshot wound, and one with injuries of unknown origin. Authorities earlier said seven people were injured.
Some of the injured were being treated in a hospital for gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries, including at least one who was in surgery, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
Nick Pasichuke, who was hit by Rodger’s BMW, suffered two broken legs.
“There was a guy driving a BMW. I was on a longboard (elongated skateboard) and he aimed his car at our group of friends and ginned it into us,” he said. “I have two broken legs and need surgery. The police said I flew roughly 50 feet into a busy intersection.”
He added, “This is all so crazy.”
Witness: ‘She was hysterical’
Skylar Serge witnessed one of the shootings from her house.
“I could see a woman on a bike get thrown,” she said.
The woman was bleeding, she added.
“She was hysterical. She was not sure if it was blood running down her leg” or water from her water bottle.
The woman was cared for by an employee from a nearby convenience store who wrapped a belt around her thigh to stop the bleeding, said another witness, Farah Reiz.
The shootings occurred in a crowded area bustling with activity on Memorial Day weekend.
“These students are among the best in the country and the loss of life is palpable,” University of California system President Janet Napolitano told CNN.
President Obama and Michelle Obama are sending prayers to the families and friends of the victims. A homeland security official briefed the President about the shooting on Saturday.
CNN’s Jim Acosta contributed to this report.
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