As gunman Eliot Rodger fired shots into the I.V. Deli Mart in Isla Vista, California on Friday night, UC Santa Barbara sophomore Alyssa Hopper, who was inside the store, ducked for cover and attempted to save the life of one of the six victims of the massacre.
Hopper claims she suddenly heard over a dozen shots being fired in her direction as Rodger drove by and fired into the store. As soon as she heard the shots, she ducked down to the ground to avoid being hit as most of the people in the store tried to escape through the back. Instead of escaping herself, however, Hopper went to try and help a fellow student who was in the direct line of fire.
“It turned into absolute mayhem,” said Hopper. “All the people who got stuck in the front were pretty much trapped right there.”
As she went over to help 20-year-old Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, she immediately recognized him.
“I was giving him CPR, looked down and recognized his face,” said Hopper. “He was the first person I met at freshman orientation.”
Despite her best efforts, Hopper was unable to save the young student’s life. Michaels-Martinez was one of six victims who died from the shooting rampage. Eliot Rodgers eventually turned the gun on himself and took his own life. Following the shooting, authorities discovered that Rodger had stabbed three other young students to death in his own apartment prior to the massacre.
Hopper echoed the sentiments of everyone else affected by this tragedy, telling the Los Angeles Daily News that she never expected something like this to happen to her or the people she knows.
“It’s been surreal,” said Hopper. “It didn’t sink until just today, this is Columbine type of stuff.”