Hundreds of students from UCLA, UCSB and USC gathered at UCLA's Royce Hall to express love, sorrow, solidarity and fear after last week's killing spree. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Monday, May 26, 2014.
Students mourning six classmates killed in a violent rampage through the Southern California seaside college community of Isla Vista gathered for a candlelight vigil Monday night before a memorial service Tuesday at the University of California Santa Barbara campus stadium.
Hundreds of students from UCLA, UCSB and USC gathered at UCLA's Royce Hall to express love, sorrow, solidarity and fear after last week's killing spree.
"Walking down the streets of Isla Vista or grabbing a sandwich from a deli shop, really it's a blessing," a UCSB alumnus said at the vigil. "It really makes me feel grateful just to be doing the simplest things, because you never know what can happen and you never know when those things that you enjoy so much doing can be taken away from you."
Students and families held candles as they described the May 23 killings as a wake-up call.
"As a mother, it means a lot when you know your child is safe," said Lilibeth Forteza, whose daughter is a student at UCSB and lives above the 7-Eleven in Isla Vista, one of the crime scenes.
In Thousand Oaks, mourners wore purple Monday evening for a poolside tribute honoring 19-year-old UC Santa Barbara student Veronika Weiss, who played water polo at Westlake High School. Purple was her favorite color, friends said.
The first-year UCSB student and Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, were standing outside their sorority house Friday night when they were shot and killed -- the first shooting victims in a drive-by shooting spree through the community of student residences west of the Santa Barbara school campus.
Weiss' father said he is "sad for everyone" involved in the violence, including the gunman and his family. He described his daughter as an exceptional athlete and student.
"She had a real great mind for math and she wanted to work in the financial area," Bob Weiss said. "She couldn't wait to graduate."
UCSB classes were not in session Monday for the Memorial Day holiday and the school's chancellor announced that Tuesday has been declared a "Day of Mourning and Reflection." Classes will be canceled and a memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT at Harder Stadium.
In all, six students were were killed by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, according to authorities. The Santa Barbara City College detailed his plans to go on a murderous rampage in a written manifesto and YouTube videos posted shortly before Friday night's violence.
The candlelight vigil and memorial service marked another step in a healing process that UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang said began with a Saturday night event. The event, conducted just hours after authorities identified three victims in the shooting, was organized by students.
"This is a period of mourning for all of us," Yang said in a statement. "The moving candlelight vigil that our students organized on Saturday evening began the process of healing.
"On Tuesday we will remember and honor the victims of this horrible event, and come together as an academic community to reflect, talk with each other, and think about the future. As terrible as these past two days have been, they make us believe in our students and the entire UCSB community more than ever."
Students also are planning a memorial wall at the Pardall Center in the heart of Isla Vista. Other signs of remembrance have appeared throughout the community, including flowers stuffed into bullet holes left behind during the shootings and handwritten notes in front of the Alpha Phi sorority house, the first location at which gunfire was reported.
Classes will not be in session Tuesday, but faculty members and counselors will be on the campus for students who want to talk about the tragedy. Classes are expected to resume Wednesday.
All of the victims in Friday's killing spree were identified during the weekend. Weiss was just completing her first year of classes at UCSB. She was a Alpha Phi sorority house sister with Cooper, a student from Chino Hills.
Twenty-year-old student Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, of Los Osos, was shot and killed when the gunman pulled up outside a deli and sprayed rounds into a crowd of customers.
Three other victims -- 19-year-old George Chen, of San Jose; 20-year-old C.H., of San Jose; and 20-year-old Weihan Wang, of Fremont -- were stabbed before the shootings at an Isla Vista apartment, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department investigators said. C.H. and Chen were listed on the lease as the gunman's roommates. Investigators were trying to determine whether Wang was a roommate or was visiting the apartment.
On Monday, Wang's parents, Jinshuang "Jane" Liu and Charlie Wang said they were looking forward to having their son home soon for the summer. Wang's mother said her son was very close with the other two young men stabbed in the apartment, but did not speak much with Rodger.
Thirteen other victims suffered gunshot wounds or were injured when gunman Elliot Rodger struck them with his BMW 3 series coupe. Three remained hospitalized Monday.
The gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after a shootout with deputies, according to the sheriff's department. A family friend confirmed to NBC News Sunday that Rodger's parents rushed to Isla Vista as the killings began after discovering the troubling manifesto that outlined plans for what Rodger called "retribution."
The 100-plus-page document railed against women and detailed his plans to go on a killing spree, said family friend Simon Astaire, who is a talent agent and media adviser. After seeing the document and a YouTube video titled "Retribution," in which Rodger -- seated behind the wheel of his BMW -- vowed to get "revenge against humanity,"
Rodger's mother called her ex-husband and two raced to Isla Vista in search of their son, Astaire said. They heard about the shootings during a radio report as they traveled on the 101 Freeway.
After the shootout and a crash that brought an end to the violence, deputies found three semi-automatic handguns along with 400 unspent rounds in the car. All were purchased legally.
As for the investigation, Burbank police confirmed Monday that Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department deputies and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives personnel served a search warrant at Gun World in connection with the Isla Vista shooting. The store was closed Monday morning.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department continues to speak with shooting witnesses and acquaintances of Rodger. They also provided details about the department's contact with Rodger about one month ago when deputies questioned him at his apartment at the request of his family.
Rodger's family has disclosed their son was under the care of therapists.
"He convinced them that it was all a misunderstanding," Sheriff Bill Brown said.
Though Rodger told deputies that he was having social problems and was likely going to leave school, "he was able to convince them that he was not a threat to himself or to anyone else at the time."
Kate Larsen and Christina Cocca contributed to this report.