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Tearful plea from victim's dad in deadly rampage

26 May 2014, 08:11

Goleta - A man whose son was among the victims killed in a shooting rampage near a California university quaked with grief and rage as he described his "lost and broken" family and the proliferation of guns he believes led to his son's death.

"Our son Christopher and six others are dead," Richard Martinez told reporters gathered outside a sheriff's station for a news conference on Saturday, the day after the shootings near the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his 20-year-old son was a sophomore. "You don't think it'll happen to your child until it does."

Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, of Los Osos, California, was the last of six people killed by suspect Elliot Rodger before the gunman apparently shot and killed himself, authorities said.

Martinez choked back tears as he spoke, then grew angrier as he talked about gun laws and lobbyists.

"The talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live?" Martinez said. "When will enough people say: 'Stop this madness! We don't have to live like this! Too many people have died!"

He then punctuated his words as he said, "We should say to ourselves: 'Not! One! More!'" before dissolving into tears and falling to his knees as he stepped from the podium.

Martinez said he talked to his son just 45 minutes before he died inside the IV Deli Mart, where bullet holes and blood could still be seen on Saturday. After already killing five others at his apartment and outside a sorority house, Rodger walked into the deli and shot Michaels-Martinez, authorities said.

Michaels-Martinez was an English major who planned to go to London next year and to law school after graduation, his father said.

He pulled out a photo of his son as a small child in a Chicago Cubs baseball uniform and said they used to call him "mini-Sammy Sosa", referring to the former Cubs star.

"Chris was a really great kid," Martinez said. "Ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken."

- AP

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