Father of slain SLO High grad wants to meet father of killer

Father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez, a UCSB student from Los Osos, hopes to find meaning in the tragedy

Los Angeles TimesMay 26, 2014 

The father of Isla Vista shooting victim Christopher Michaels-Martinez said he wants to meet with the father of his son's killer to work toward preventing future tragedies.

"I lost my son. He lost his son. We have that in common," Richard Martinez said. "We want, if possible, that the deaths of our son and his son should mean something."

Michaels-Martinez, a 20-year-old UC Santa Barbara student, was the only child of two attorneys, his mother a deputy district attorney and his father a criminal defense attorney. He grew up in the San Luis Obispo area and graduated from San Luis Obispo High School in 2012.

His parents separated when he was child but shared custody and maintained a cordial relationship, Martinez said. Michaels-Martinez was a studious kid and avid reader — including the"Hunger Games," "Harry Potter" and "Game of Thrones series" — but also an athlete from a young age, his father said, beginning with soccer and going on to play football and basketball.

"Sometimes he was the most skilled player on the field, and even if he wasn't, he was the most determined player on the field," Martinez said, recalling a junior high school basketball game in which his son played on a team of four against a team of eight and Christopher's team won.

Martinez said he initially wasn't thrilled when his son decided to follow in his parents' footsteps and become a lawyer, but he knew better than to try to talk him out of it.

"He was very strong when he decided he wanted to do something, and he was trained to argue for his position," Martinez said.

Michaels-Martinez was also worldly from a young age — he traveled with his father to France, Spain and Italy, and later returned to Europe with high school classmates. He was preparing for a year studying abroad in London when he died.

"He was just a terrific kid in every way," Martinez said. "You couldn't really ask for a better kid, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his father."

Michaels-Martinez was one of six victims allegedly killed by Elliot Rodger, who also died in the rampage.

Rodger's parents had become worried about their son in recent months. His mother called his therapist — who called law enforcement — month after seeing disturbing videos he had posted on the Internet. His parents raced to Isla Vista on Friday after seeing a screed in which Rodger laid out his plans for the rampage.

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