UC Santa Barbara Students Killed in Isla Vista Rampage

Six students -- some anticipating their future careers, others looking forward to their remaining college years -- were killed Friday May 23, 2014 in Isla Vista


Six people were slain on May 23 in Isla Vista when a student at nearby Santa Barbara City College went on a stabbing and shooting rampage before eventually killing himself.

The victims, all students at UC Santa Barbara, had the hopes and dreams associated with college life. Some were looking foward to beginning their careers, others planned to enjoy their remaining time at the campus on the Southern California coast.

Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, Chino Hills
Friends described Cooper as an outgoing artist who could light up a room with her smile. She was about to graduate with a degree in art history but planned to remain in Isla Vista for a year. Cooper grew up in Chino Hills and attended Ayala High School, where she competed in track and was active with several student groups.

"She walked in the room with just the biggest smile on her face," said Jacob Morales, who grew up with Cooper in the same neighborhood.

Veronika Weiss, 19, Thousand Oaks
Weiss was a standout four-sport athlete who "went into everything with such vitality and enthusiasm." She also excelled in math courses and planned to pursue a career in finance. She was a member of the same sorority house in Isla Vista as Cooper.

“She was strong, smart, had a great sense of who she was," father Bob Weiss said.

Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, Los Osos
Michaels-Martinez was an English major who was looking forward to spending his junior year in London. The son of a criminal defense attorney and a deputy district attorney in San Luis Obispo, he planned to attend law school after graduation. He worked hard in school and enjoyed playing several sports, his father said.

"Chris was a really great kid," his father, Richard Martinez, said. "Ask anyone who knew him."

Weihan "David" Wang, 20, Fremont
Weihan "David" Wang was a basketball player who graduated from Fremont Christian School and was studying computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Wang's plan, his mother said, was to return to the Bay Area on June 12, head out on a family trip to Yellowstone National Park two days later and celebrate his 21st birthday in July. He eventually wanted to start a business with his friends.

Jinshuang "Jane" Liu described her son as "a very, very nice boy," the kind who aced his SATs and never bragged about it. The family had moved from Tianjng, China, 10 years ago.

On Tuesday, the principal at Fremont Christian school told NBC Bay Area that a memorial plaque and garden will be created near thebasketball court where Wang liked to play. A family friend has set up a memorial fund for the family.

C.H., 20, San Jose
C.H. grew up in Taipei, graduated in 2012  from Lynbrook High School in San Jose and was studying computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara, according to his Facebook page. His high school drama teacher, Laurel Cohen, told the Mercury News that C.H. was the kind of kid who worked backstage so his peers could bask in the limelight.

"Backstage he was an unsung hero, moving in and out of the shadows unnoticed and silent," she told the paper. "He would do anything for the sake of the show. I often wonder why certain students take drama, but with James it was easy. He loved the process and the people. James was a drama kid. I will always remember him as such."

Editor's Note: Family members requested that the initials C.H. be used to identify the victim.

George Chen, 19, San Jose
George Chen was originally from Ottawa, Canada, according to his Facebook page. He graduated in 2012 from Leland High in San Jose and had been a camp counselor for the YMCA. Paige West of San Jose said in a phone interview that she went to Bret Harte Middle School in San Jose with Chen, whom she described as quiet and a lover of anime.

He was the oldest child among his siblings and enjoyed video games, laughing and parkour, according to his Facebook profile. He would have graduated UC Santa Barbara in 2016.

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