Community gathers to remember Calif. victims - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Community gathers to remember Calif. victims

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ISLA VISTA, Calif. (WHDH) - There is no textbook that teaches students how to mourn a tragedy on this scale.

"You always think that doesn't happen to me. It doesn't happen in my town," said Jeff Dolphin, a friend of a victim from the shooting in California.

So, as the sun began to set on UC Santa Barbara's darkest day, thousands found strength by marching in silence.

With candles lit, they made their way to a park in the heart of Isla Vista, where they honored victims, including sorority sisters Veronika Weiss and Katie Cooper, and 20-year-old Christopher Martinez.

"I just want to say, Chris, wherever you are now, we love you man," one person said.

Chris was a sophomore English major with dreams of attending law school.

"I talked to him about 45 minutes before he died," said Chris's father, Richard, who said Chris was killed inside the popular IV Deli Mart, where a memorial continues to grow.

"He was the most warm, loving, kind hearted kid that you could ask for," Richard said.

At the vigil, Chris's freshman year roommate shared a favorite memory, the time Chris suggested they eat a 6-pound bag of chips, then spend the night watching TV.

"And it's just, it's just that's what I think of when I think of him. Not that he's gone, but that he was there," Dolphin said.

Six victims were murdered, including the suspect's three roommates, one of them identified by authorities as 20-year-old Cheng Yuan Hong.

Also killed were the two young women who were shot outside a sorority house.

Veronika Weiss, 19, was a freshman. Her father spoke, saying his daughter was a rare 4-sport athlete in high school who excelled at math and spent most Friday night studying.

"She was great -- she was a great girl. She was innocent, very nice. She didn't deserve this, you know?" a friend said.

Katie Cooper, 22, was just weeks from graduating.

At the vigil, those who knew Katie best remembered a gentle selfless soul who loved to dance.

"I wish I would have said I love you, I wish I would have said goodbye, I wish I would have told her that her dancing was beautiful. I won't forget you Katie. Please continue to dance," a friend said.
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