Hours after they mourned six classmates at a memorial that drew thousands to the campus stadium, grieving UC Santa Barbara students returned to class Wednesday for the first time since a deadly rampage in nearby Isla Vista.
A large black ribbon now hangs from the campus' Henley Gate in memory of the victims killed Friday by a man who fatally stabbed three people at his apartment before a series of shootings in the community of student residences west of Santa Barbara. Classes were not in session Monday during the Memorial Day holiday and school officials canceled classes Tuesday so students could mourn and attend a victims tribute at Harder Stadium.
The black ribbon on a monument at the campus' east entrance marks another sign of the tragedy. Students who spoke with NBC4 said they were comforted by returning to campus and being around their friends.
"I'm not sitting home alone. My friends are all here, and if you're sitting home alone you feel helpless," said graduate student Bo Yan. "When you're lonely, you just can't find someone to talk with."
In Isla Vista, mourners continued to place flowers at two locations where their classmates were shot and killed. Students have organized several candlelight vigils since Friday, and another vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. in memory of victim Katie Cooper in her hometown of Chino Hills at Calle San Marcos Park.
Candlelight vigils also are planned for Wednesday night on the UC Riverside campus and Thursday at UC Davis.
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Also Wednesday, more than 2,000 people signed up to join a paddle-out for the victims. Thousands of flowers were donated to the event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday off the coast of Isla Vista.
Tuesday evening's memoral was the largest public gathering in honor of the victims and included passionate words from Richard Martinez, father of shooting victim Christopher Michaels-Martinez. He received a standing ovation from the crowd after asking them to shout, "Not one more" -- a call to stop mass shootings.
- Tragedy in Isla Vista: Galleries, About the Victims, Timeline
"Not one more," Martinez said from the podium. "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?"
The gunman, 22-year-old Santa Barbara City College student Elliot Rodger, legally obtained three semi-automatic handguns and still had 400 rounds of ammunition when he shot himself to death in a shootout with deputies, authorities said.
Rodger sprayed gunfire as he drove through the streets of Isla Vista, killing 20-year-old Michaels-Martinez at a deli after gunning down Veronika Weiss, 19, and Katherine Breann Cooper, 22. The sorority sisters were shot and killed outside the Alpha Phi house.
- Read: About the Victims
Rodger fatally stabbed three men, Weihan Wang, 20; George Chen, 19, and C.H. -- whose family requested he be identified only by the initials -- at his apartment before the shootings.
His plans for what he called "retribution" were outlined in a lengthy manifesto and video posted on YouTube.