Rampage Killer Was Frequent Customer Of Deli Mart He Shot Up
ISLA VISTA (CBSLA.com) — Elliot Rodger was a frequent customer of the Deli Mart he shot up Friday evening.
Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, 20, was also a frequent customer. Michael-Martinez is believed to be Rodger’s final victim in a rampage that included fatal stabbings and shootings and what officials called “ten different crimes scenes.”
CBS2’s Joy Benedict on Sunday spoke to the Deli Mart owner about the strange twist of fate that united victim and killer.
The store opened for business Sunday for the first time since the deadly rampage ended with seven people (including the gunman) dead and many more wounded.
“You never expect something like that to happen in your store,” said Sam Hassan.
The owner and his son have owned the Deli Mart for years. Hassan says it’s a college town and he has become very close to his customers over time.
Many of them came by Sunday, Benedict reports, just to check on Sam and his son.
“That could have been any of us,” Hassan said. “That could have been us, me … my son. The other employees here.”
Michael-Martinez walked into the store with four friends.
“He was the last one to enter the store,” Hassan said.
Hassan wasn’t at the store Friday night when the rampage unfolded.
Surveillance video showed the chaos inside the store — customers scrambling for cover, a glass door shattering in a hail of bullets, a woman trying to call 911 for help.
A third camera, with footage of Michael-Martinez being shot and laying on the floor, shows two friends valiantly trying to save his life.
Of Rodger, Hassan is still shocked he was the gunman.
“You never expect that [someone you know],” he said. “He was quiet, Very, very friendly.”
Hassan told Benedict it will take him weeks to repair all the broken glass.
He is really only thinking about the customers who watched the horrific act. Hassan says he’s also thinking about the victim’s and their families — and he is also thinking about the murderer.
“I’m thinking about everyone,” Hassan said, “even Elliot’s family. They have had tragedy, too.”
Sunday evening, KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper picked up the story and spoke to people who were inside the store during the shooting.
“He was breathing. We got him to breathe. He was gasping though,” Says UC Santa Barbara student Alyssa Hopper.
She was one of the first to perform CPR on Michael-Martinez.
“It’s just scary to think about, how close it was,” says store employee Samantha Rutherford who was on duty during the shooting. She was behind the counter. “I watched that happen. It was terrifying.”
A mass was held at an Isla Vista church Sunday evening — to honor the six murdered victims and the 13 injured during the rampage.
All of the dead were UCSB students.
“I’m really thankful to have my life and I did all that I could to help save … him,” says a tearful Alyssa Hopper.
Classes are canceled at UCSB on Tuesday. School officials are asking for a day or mourning and reflection.