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Authorities Release Names Of The 14 People Killed In San Bernardino Shooting

By Laura Wagner | NPR
Thursday, December 3, 2015

This post was updated Dec. 1, 2016, with information regarding the victims in the year following the shooting

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's office released the names of the 14 people killed during a mass shooting at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday.

The victims ranged in age from 26 to 60.

"This shooting has caused each [victim's] family, friends and co-workers, along with the first responders, to suffer an enormous personal tragedy. We must stand strong and offer support to each individual affected by this senseless attack," stated Sheriff John McMahon.

Here are the victims' names, ages and hometowns:

Shannon Johnson, 45, Los Angeles

Deirdre Butchko, a property manager at the building where Johnson lived in Koreatown, told member station KPCC that Johnson was an old-fashioned gentleman.

"He was just really outstanding," she said, contemplating the news. "It hurts."

Butchko said Johnson had moved to the building to free up more money for traveling.

A clerk at a convenience store around the corner said Johnson was a regular customer, and one of the shop's kindest.

A Peace Garden was created and dedicated to California State University, San Bernardino alumni who were killed during the attack. Johnson, an alumnus of the university, was also remembered in a Night of Remembrance event on the anniversary of the shooting.

Johnson's former fiancee, Mandy Pifer, and his former colleague, Denise Peraza, are working to create a memorial fund in his honor.

Bennetta Betbadal, 46, Rialto

According to her LinkedIn page, Betbadal worked for the county's environmental health services. A Go Fund Me page that has been created in her name says she was born in Iran in 1969. It also says:

"She fled to America at the age of 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian Revolution. Benneta initially settled in New York City, eventually moving to California and marrying her husband, Arlen Verdehyou, a police officer. They moved to Rialto, California and had three children, now ages 10, 12, and 15."

Aurora Godoy, 26, San Jacinto

Godoy, an office assistant in the Department of Public Health, met her husband in high school through Junior ROTC, the Los Angeles Times reported. She gave birth to a son, Alexander, two years ago.

"James Godoy praised his late wife as a devoted mother.

" 'It was all about him,' James Godoy said of his son."

Godoy posthumously received her associate degree in liberal arts and sciences. She was two classes shy of completing the degree when she was killed. The degree was awarded in May from Los Angeles Harbor College.

Isaac Amanios, 60, Fontana

Amanios was an immigrant from Ethiopia, Department of Environmental Health receptionist Jenni Kosse told KPCC's Elizabeth Aguilera, and was saving up money to bring his children to the United States.

"He was so proud of his kids," Kosse said. "I asked him about them the last time I saw him in October. And his whole face lit up and he took out pictures. He was such a proud dad. And just was an amazing guy."

Larry Kaufman, 42, Rialto

The Los Angeles Times reports that Kaufman "ran the coffee shop in building 3 at the Inland Regional Center, training the developmentally disabled clients who worked there." He was remembered on this Facebook page.

Kaufman, a regular cast member in The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, Calif., was remembered during a memorial service in April.

Harry Bowman, 46, Upland

The newspaper also reports that Bowman was described as an intelligent man who loved his 15- and 11-year-old daughters, according to family member Bill Kraft.

"Death at its best is hard to take. This type of death is extremely hard to take, especially when you have young children," Kraft told the Times. "There is no way you are going to make them understand."

A Healing Grove Memorial honoring Bowman and the other 13 victims will be planted on Saturday by the people in charge of the Incredible Edible Community Garden.

Yvette Velasco, 27, Fontana

Velasco was an environmental specialist. KPCC spoke to Velasco's uncle, George Velasco, who said she was "an intelligent, motivated, and beautiful young woman, who was full of life and loved by all who knew her."

Yvette is survived by her parents, Robert and Marie Velasco, and her three sisters, Adriana, Erica and Genevieve.

Velasco, an alumna of California State University, San Bernardino, was remembered in the creation and dedication of a Peace Garden on campus. She was also remembered in a Night of Remembrance event held at the university on the anniversary of the shooting.

Sierra Clayborn, 27, Moreno Valley

KPCC reports that Clayborn's LinkedIn profile identifies her as an environmental health specialist for San Bernardino County, which would have made her a co-worker of the shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

Timothy Lee, who met Clayborn when they both took a dance class at University of California, Riverside, told the station that Clayborn was always encouraging his documentary film work.

Robert Adams, 40, Yucaipa

Adams married his high school sweetheart, Summer. He had a 20-month-old daughter. Jenni Kosse, a family friend, said his adoration for his family, was infectious, The Los Angeles Times reports.

"When you saw the three of them together, you just wanted to jump in the middle and think, 'I want to have fun too,' " Kosse said.

Adams, an alumnus of California State University, San Bernardino, was remembered in the creation and dedication of a Peace Garden on campus. He was also remembered in a Night of Remembrance event held at the university on the anniversary of the shooting.

A memorial bench for Adams was installed in a park near his house by members of the Chapman Heights Community Association.

Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, Colton

Nicholas's wife, Jennifer, told NPR member station KPCC that her husband had a "very strong faith." He worked as a county environmental specialist. Friends remembered him on his Facebook page.

Tin Nguyen, 31, Santa Ana

Nguyen, who immigrated from Vietnam when she was a child, was planning to get engaged soon to her longtime boyfriend, San Trinh, the Los Angeles Times reported.

" 'I work day in, day out, saving money. I intended to buy her a new house. We would move her Mom in to live with us. We talked about everything — our marriage, how many kids we wanted to have,' the mechanical engineer from Westminster said. 'If I could tell people anything from this experience, I'd say: "Whatever you're planning, don't push it off. Get it done." ' "

Juan Espinoza, 50, Highland

Espinoza was married and a father of two daughters and a son, Department of Environmental Health receptionist Kosse told KPCC. He also grew grapes to make his own wine.

Espinoza, an alumnus of California State University, San Bernardino was remembered in the creation and dedication of a Peace Garden on campus. He was also remembered in a Night of Remembrance event held at the university on the anniversary of the shooting.

Damian Meins, 58, Riverside

The Los Angeles Times reports that Juan C. Perez, director of Riverside County Transportation & Land Management Agency, emailed employees about Meins' death, calling him a "bright light" that had been "extinguished from our world in a most tragic way."

Michael Wetzel, 37, Lake Arrowhead

Wetzel, who had worked for San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for years, left behind six children.

KPCC spoke to Wetzel's pastor, Rod Akins, who said, "He was an exceptional guy, really he was. I mean, a lot of people tend to highlight people once they've passed, but Michael was one of the most caring and generous guys."

A fundraising campaign has been started by friends of the Wetzel family and as of late Thursday had collected more than $160,000.

A memorial garden, "Mike's Grove of Eternal Hope," was created in memory of Wetzel at MacKay Park in Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

Wynne Davis contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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