The father of a 20-year-old UC Santa Barbara student who was one of six killed people by a gunman in Isla Vista blamed lawmakers and gun rights proponents for the deadly rampage.
In a tearful speech Saturday outside Santa Barbara County sheriff’s headquarters, Richard Martinez said he never thought his son, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, would become a victim of a deadly shooting. Michaels-Martinez was at a local deli when he was shot and killed Friday night by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, according to authorities, who said he also killed five others. The shooting suspect also died that night, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Why did Chris die?" Martinez said during the emotional plea. “Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live?”
He made an appeal to stop the violence, saying too many have already died.
“When will this insanity stop?” Martinez said. “When will enough people say ‘Stop this madness.’ We don’t have to live like this. Too many have died. We should say to ourselves ‘Not one more.”
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement Saturday while the shooting was under investigation, “we do know that real solutions exist to prevent most of the 90 gun deaths that happen in our nation every day, and that those solutions are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans.”
Last year, the Brady Campaign called for universal background checks for gun holders.
Jeff Dolphin, a former college roommate of Michaels-Martinez, told The Times he was shocked by the shootings because he did not think it would happen to him and in his town.
“I’m still in shock about the whole thing. Because you always hear about stuff like this happening, but you always think, ‘Oh that doesn’t happen to me,’” Dolphin said, his voice wavering. “‘That doesn’t happen in my town. That’s always just something on the news.’ But that did happen, and it’s just like very overwhelming.”