On Sunday hundreds of people packed a ballroom to remember a 23-year-old California college student who was among the 129 people killed in the Paris attacks. On Friday night Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old senior studying industrial design at California State University, Long Beach, was at a Paris restaurant with classmates when she was fatally shot.
As part of a semester-abroad program, Gonzalez was studying at the Strate College of Design in Paris. A fellow American student in the program witnessed Gonzalez get shot and carried away on a stretcher.
At the vigil Sunday, a standing-only crowd of students, faculty and family members remembered Gonzalez as a hard-working student with big dreams. Gonzalez worked as a teaching assistant at the university and as a shop technician who oversaw lower-division students on their design projects.
Martin Herman, chair of the university’s design department said “She was instrumental in shepherding all of our students along that journey, and she was always generous with her time, her knowledge and her understanding.”
The family of Gonzalez said the FBI informed them it could be weeks before Nohemi’s body is returned to the U.S. because of the ongoing investigation. Politicians and state university officials sent statements expressing their sadness and offering condolences to Gonzalez’s family.
Gov. Jerry Brown said flags would be flown at half-staff at the Capitol for victims of the terror attacks. The university said 17 of its students were also studying in France this semester and the other 16 students were safe.
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