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Isla Vista shootings: Some victims told stories through social media

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Isla Vista shooting victims, Tri Delta sorority sisters, told their life stories through social media

The gunman who killed six people in Isla Vista may have used social media to promote his violent intentions, but some of his victims also left traces of their own lives through Twitter, Instagram and other outlets.

Veronika Weiss, a 19-year-old UC Santa Barbara student, used Instagram to vividly document her family, friends, athletic exploits and adventures around town.

She posted a photo of herself smiling and holding a pair of babies, one in each arm in December of 2012. "Baby cousins," Weiss wrote.

She joined Delta Delta Delta sorority, just as her mother had, her father told The Times in an earlier story. A recent photo shows Weiss arm-in-arm with her mother in springtime dresses, together holding a single long-stemmed sunflower. Weiss had given the photo a Tri Delta hashtag.

Weiss posted many photos with her water polo teammates in their uniform swimsuits and swim caps. “So it begins,” Weiss captioned a photo tagged on the Westlake High School pool deck. The suits’ logo, a yellow W for “Westlake” emblazoned with an arrow, was her design, she later revealed in the comments.

A high school athlete who also participated in baseball, cross country and swimming, Weiss was an avid snowboarder. Two weeks ago, she posted a photo of herself with arms outstretched atop a slope at Mammoth Mountain, her shirt emblazoned with the name of her sorority.

Weiss’s father described his daughter’s friends as a combination of nerds and serious students -- an idea supported by her photo of a stack of borrowed Harry Potter movies in apparent preparation for a marathon viewing session.

When her admission notice to UC Santa Barbara came, she posted it on the social media site. “Finally,” she wrote with the photo, tagging it “#alreadycommitted.”

Weiss’ friends expressed their grief on the site as well, leaving comments on her last image and posting photos of their own.

“I don't know what to do with myself without you. I love you little,” her sorority big sister at Tri Delta, Alexis Hage, wrote with a photo she posted on Instagram.

Katherine Cooper, whose friends called her Katie or Coops, posted frequently on her Instagram account about social activities with Delta Delta Delta, including fundraisers, parties and trips to Disneyland.

In April, Cooper and several of her sorority sisters took a trip to Stagecoach, a three-day country music festival in the Indio Valley. She posted Instagram photos of friends in cowboy hats and jean shorts. In another, she was shown playfully biting into an ear of corn. She captioned the photo with lyrics from the song "Rain Is A Good Thing" by country star Luke Brian.

She also shared photos of her baby nephew and Sydney, her brown-and-white spotted dog at home in Chino Hills. In another post, she shared her first homecooked meal in her new apartment: New York strip steak, stuffed mushrooms and asparagus. She tagged the photo "#domesticmoment."

During spring break in Maui, a friend snapped a photo of Cooper on the beach, facing toward the water. She and a friend held their arms in the air, their index fingers and thumbs touching to form a triangle — the Greek symbol for Delta.

Cooper captioned the photo: "There is a thing called love, I call it being at peace."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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