SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The principal of Lynbrook High School in San Jose this morning asked for a moment of silence for 2012 graduate Cheng Hong, one of six people killed by his deranged roommate Friday near Santa Barbara, a school district spokeswoman said.
Principal John Dwyer used the school intercom after classes began at 7:35 a.m. today to share thoughts from the school’s vice principal, Hong’s drama teacher and a former classmate about the young man known as “James” who attended Lynbrook for four years, Fremont Union High School District spokeswoman Sue Larson said.
The school district also set up a room on the Lynbrook campus for students and staff members to visit to talk about Hong’s death and express their grief, Larson said.
“Kids are reeling now, miss him and are being affected by his tragic passing,” Larson said.
“We’re doing what we can to move forward and celebrate the life he had here,” she said.
Hong was one of three roommates of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who fatally stabbed the trio in their apartment in the Isla Vista area outside of Santa Barbara on Friday.
Rodger then gunned down two young women and a young man and injured 13 others in the rampage near the campus of University of California at Santa Barbara.
Hong, 20, was an immigrant from Taiwan and computer science student at UCSB, according to authorities in Santa Barbara County.
Rodger is also believed to have stabbed his other roommates, UCSB students George Chen, 19, a 2012 graduate of Leland High School in San Jose, and Weihan Wang, a graduate of Fremont Christian School in Fremont.
Rodger, who ranted in a manifesto and in a self-recorded video about his desire to kill, then shot UCSB students Katherine Cooper, 22, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, 19, and Veronika Weiss, 19, before apparently shooting himself to death after trying to elude police in his car.
Traci Cook, spokeswoman for San Jose Unified School District, which includes Leland High, said the school brought in grief counselors this morning for students and staffers who need them in light of Chen’s death.
Some members of Leland’s class of 2012 may be planning a vigil by candlelight for Chen, Cook said. The district will not be commenting further on the case, she said.
At Lynbrook this morning, vice principal Maria Jackson recalled Hong as “a quiet and very sweet young man who was a diligent and accomplished student,” according to Larson.
Hong was part of the student technology staff for school drama productions, which was “a place for people to find a family on campus,” Larson said. “It was one of his favorite places.”
Hong’s drama teacher Laurel Cohen remembered him as “sweet, kind … his smile could light up a room,” Larson said.
Hong’s former classmate Samar Khan, who graduated with him in 2012, described him as one of “the kindest, most gentle people I have ever met.”
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