They will never be forgotten.
CSUSB’s College of Natural Sciences will hold a Day of Remembrance event on Wednesday, Dec. 2, to honor the memories of the individuals – including five alumni – who were killed five years ago during a mass shooting in San Bernardino. Though prior events were held on campus, to ensure the health and well-being of attendees and participants, the commemoration will be conducted in a predominantly virtual format.
The Day of Remembrance will be held at 2 p.m. via Zoom in memory of the 14 victims of the 2015 mass shooting, including five College of Natural Sciences alumni: Robert Adams, Yucaipa (public health education, 2011); Juan Espinoza, Highland (biology, 2002); Shannon Johnson, Los Angeles (environmental health science, 2004); Yvette Velasco, Fontana (environmental health science, 2013); and Michael Wetzel, Lake Arrowhead (biology, 2001).
“Our Day of Remembrance is a very meaningful occasion for our CSUSB family to gather together and cherish the memories of those deeply special individuals who we have lost,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “We will celebrate their lives, we will celebrate with peace in our hearts, and we will never forget the lives of those who touched so many hearts in our community, both on and off campus.”
All 14 individuals were San Bernardino County Department of Public Health employees who were present at the Inland Regional Center for a training session and holiday gathering. The five CSUSB alumni were graduates of the Department of Biology and the Department of Health Science and Human Ecology.
Others who died along with CSUSB alumni that day were Isaac Amanios, Fontana; Bennett Bet-Badal, Rialto; Harry Bowman, Upland; Sierra Clayborn, Moreno Valley; Aurora Godoy, San Jacinto; Larry Daniel Kaufman, Rialto; Damien Meins, Riverside; Tin Nguyen, Santa Ana; and Nicholas Thalasinos, Colton.
Wednesday’s Day of Remembrance will include remarks from Pantula. Erica Porteous, sister of Yvette Velasco, will also speak on behalf of the families.
During the event, Michael Nguyen, a lecturer from the Department of Health Science and Human Ecology, will be on campus at the Peace Garden, located next to the Chemical Sciences Building. The garden, created in memory of the five alumni, features a five-sided pedestal topped by a bell. On Wednesday, as in years past, Nguyen will ring the bell 14 times – once for each life lost in the tragedy – at the beginning and conclusion of the event. Roberto C. Hernandez, the college’s director of administrative operations and marketing, will also be on-site to capture video for Zoom participants. Campus restrictions at this time do not allow others to be present at the Peace Garden for this event.
To access the Day of Remembrance memorial, go to https://csusb.zoom.us/j/84790905300.
For more information about the Day of Remembrance event, contact Yolanda Thomas at YThomas@csusb.edu or call (909) 537-5300.