In an effort to make sure that the stories of those slain in the shootings in San Bernardino are remembered, we wanted to profile each of the victims so that you know more about these lives lost.
Robert Adams, 40, was a married father of a 20 month old daughter. According to friends, he had always wanted to become a father and got his wish when his daughter was born. Robert’s wife was his high school sweetheart, and the two could not have been happier about the arrival of their daughter after having been trying to have children. Sunday, Dec 6th, was his wife’s birthday, and according to friends, it was the first birthday she has celebrated without Robert since she was fourteen years old. He had been planning a trip to Disneyland for her and their daughter to celebrate her birthday.
If you would like to support his wife and daughter, friends have set up a GoFundMe page.
Isaac Amanios, 60, moved to the United States in 2000 to escape violence in his home country of Eritrea. He shared a cubicle with the shooter, according to co-workers. Amanios deeply loved his family, and worked with his children on their school work each night. His cousin plays for the New York Giants, and expressed his grief via Twitter last week. Amanios is survived by his wife and three children and a GoFundMe page has been set up to support them.
Bennetta Betbadal, 46, fled to the United States from Iran to avoid Islamic extremism at the age of 18. An environmental health specialist for San Bernardino, she utilized her chemistry degree to lead the team of food inspectors. She was a married mother of three teens, aged 10, 12, and 15. According to friends, “Benneta left the house Wednesday morning, excited about a presentation she was scheduled to give to her supervisors and coworkers at their annual meeting.” Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe page to support her children.
Harry Bowman, 46, was an expert in mapping and utilizing spacial data. The director of CREATE, a center at the University of California that studies terrorism, told the Los Angeles Times that Bowman was one of their earliest contributors. He no longer worked at the San Bernardino facility where he was killed, he was merely visiting that day to say hello to former co-workers. His mother has asked for privacy, but it is known that he had two daughters.
Sierra Clayborn, 27, had recently written on her Facebook page that, “I love hanging out with my friends and I love my blooming career in public and environmental health. I am dedicated to enjoying my new life, that God so graciously gave me, so I thank Him… and live life to the fullest. I love my life.” Friends and associates continue to use phrases like energetic and thoughtful when describing Clayborn. She is survived by her boyfriend, sister, and parents. Her sister set up a GoFundMe account to ensure that Clayborn has a proper burial.
Juan Espinoza, 50, was a hard worker his entire life. One of 13 siblings, he came to the United States from Mexico and worked at the California Department of Corrections to help put himself through college. According to friends’ statements to the Los Angeles Times, he was “everyone’s favorite… and he reciprocated by making every one of us feel like we were his favorite, too.” He was married with a daughter and a son, all of whom survive him.
Aurora Godoy, 26, was married to her high school sweetheart and loved being a mother to her son. According to her husband, her life was all about her baby boy. She joined the San Bernardino Department of Public Health in January to work as an office assistant. There are actually three GoFundMe pages set up for Aurora, showing just how much she was loved. A family spokesperson has said all of them will be directing the funds to her husband and son, so supporters should feel free to donate to any of them. There is one set up by Aurora’s sister in law, one set up by the co-worker of Godoy’s husband, and one set up by Godoy’s mother’s coworker.
Shannon Johnson, 45, loved music and had dozens of framed concert posters according to his girlfriend. According to her, they had recently decided to be married and were planning on telling their families over the holidays. She further said that Johnson worked often with the killer and would discuss religion with him. She told the Los Angeles Times, “He loved the department because he said it was like working in the United Nations.” Johnson is also being acknowledged as a hero for saving a co-worker. As the shooting began, Johnson and co-worker Denise Peraza hid under a table. Johnson put his arm around her and told her “I got you.” Peraza was wounded, but did survive.
Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42, was known for being full of life and a giving spirit. It was said that he talked to everyone he met, and loved that his boyfriend took him to work each day. Kaufman loved his work as well, where he trained the disabled clients of the center to work in the center’s coffee shop. Heartbreakingly, there were a series of conflicting reports that Kaufman was alive for many hours after the attack. It wasn’t until almost a day later that his boyfriend and family found out he didn’t make it.
Damian Meins, 58, had worked for the county where San Bernardino is located for almost three decades before he retired in 2010. He had only recently come out of retirement to work with the Health Department in San Bernardino. Before his return to the Health Department, Meins had played Santa for children in after-school programs at a local school. The Los Angeles Times reached out to one of his daughters, who told them, “I just want everyone to know that he was a good man.” Meins’ wife and two daughters have started a GoFundMe to continue the charitable work that Meins had always loved.
Tin Nguyen, 31, like many of the other victims, fled to America at a young age to escape violence. As part of a large but close-knit family, Nguyen was known for always staying to touch with her numerous aunts, uncles, and almost 30 cousins. One of her cousins told the Los Angeles Times that, “You cannot imagine how caring she is. She had such a big heart.” All of the family would get together on Sunday’s for dinner, and Tina’s joie de vivre was a loved part of the tradition. Reports say that Nguyen and her boyfriend had planned to get engaged in 2016 and hopefully marry in 2017. On the evening before the shooting, Nguyen and her boyfriend had celebrated his birthday. A memorial fund has been set up in her name.
Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, was known for his traditional Messianic Jewish garb and his love and devotion for his wife of 14 years. He was also known for being generous, and according to his wife, got along with the shooter prior to last week. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support his wife.
Yvette Velasco, 27, was a beloved sister to three women and a beloved daughter to her parents. A cousin of hers said that she encouraged him to go for what his dream was and not to worry about money. With that encouragement, he became a pastry chef. Valesco had worked at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for only a little over a year as an environmental health specialist. Her family issued a statement saying that she was “full of life and loved by all who knew her.” Her family has set up a GoFundMe page for her memorial expenses.
Michael Raymond Wetzel, 37, was a beloved father to six children, and had no problem getting silly with them or other kids. Reports say that he coached a youth soccer team of 5-year old girls whose theme was princesses. To help with his family’s numerous expenses, friends have created a YouCaring page.
Though nothing can ever bring each of these amazing men and women back, we want to ensure that their lives and the joy they brought others continues to be remembered.
Featured image and first image are composites of all of the photos featured in article, whose individual sources are listed under each photo. These images are available under aCreative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.