GOLETA, Calif. — A man whose son was among the victims killed in a shooting rampage near a California university quaked with grief and rage Saturday 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 the day after the shootings near the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the 20-year-old son was a sophomore. “You don’t think it’ll happen to your child until it does.”
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 was shot and killed inside the IV Deli Mart, where bullet holes and blood could still be seen Saturday.
His roommate tried to revive him, but he died at the scene, Richard Martinez said.
Christopher 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 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,” Richard Martinez said. “Ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken.”