(CNN) — A design student from California was among the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris. Her mother said Nohemi Gonzalez was shot outside a restaurant that was targeted Friday night.
A close friend of Gonzalez’s family said the 23-year-old was the apple of her mother’s eye. “Smart. Beautiful. I mean, she was a gift of life,” said Rosa Ybarra. When asked what she hoped Gonzalez would be remember for, she replied “for her spirit. Life. Fun. A joy.”
At a vigil held Sunday on the campus of California State University-Long Beach, the school’s president Jane Close Conoley described enormous pain losing the skyrocketing design senior to the terrorist attack. “I and the entire campus are heartbroken by the news,” she said.
Gonzalez was spending a semester abroad at the State College of Design in Paris.
A design professor who knew her well said she was talented and admired throughout the whole department. “She was immersed in global interest and global discourse,” said design lecturer Michael Laforte, “very buoyant, joyous personality. She’s extremely lively, extremely energetic.”
He added that Gonzalez was part of a close knit group that worked long hard hours. She and three classmates captured second place and $3,000 out of 71 entries from 22 countries in a biomimicry global design contest. A competition organizer said that Gonzalez and her colleagues displayed great creativity in creating Polli Snak — healthy fruits and nuts in a biodegradable package that can be converted to a small planter.
Now, at Long Beach State, they mourn Gonzalez, the young design whiz who cared about her world and lost her life a half-a-world away, out to expand her mind and have some fun in Paris on a Friday night.
Gonzalez’s mother said her daughter was put in an ambulance after the attack, but she died before she reached the hospital.
(AP) — A Chilean mother and her daughter, cut down in a concert hall while the daughter’s 5-year-old son survived. A young Italian woman, separated from her boyfriend and friends when the concert erupted in chaos. They were among the latest victims named as officials on Sunday continued the heavy task of identifying the 129 people killed in Friday night’s coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris. Among the confirmed dead:
–Nick Alexander, 36, of Colchester, England, who was working at the Bataclan concert hall selling merchandise for the performing band, Eagles of Death Metal. “Nick was not just our brother, son and uncle, he was everyone’s best friend – generous, funny and fiercely loyal,” his family said in a statement. “Nick died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much he was cherished by his friends around the world.”
–Asta Diakite, cousin of French midfielder Lassana Diarra, who played against Germany in Friday’s soccer match at Stade de France, during which three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the stadium Friday night. Diarra, who is Muslim, posted a moving message on Twitter after his cousin was killed in the shootings, saying that “She was like a big sister to me.” He added: “It is important for all of us who represent our country and its diversity to stay united against a horror which has no color, no religion. Stand together for love, respect and peace.”
–Michelli Gil Jaimez, of Tuxpan in the Mexican state of Veracruz, had studied at a business school in Lyons, France, and was currently living in Paris. She also held Spanish citizenship. She had just gotten engaged to her Italian boyfriend, according to her Facebook page. Mexican officials did not give her age or say where she was killed.
– Mathieu Hoche, 38, a cameraman for France24 news channel, also killed at the concert. A friend, Antoine Rousseay, tweeted about how passionately Hoche loved rock ‘n’ roll. Gerome Vassilacos, who worked with Hoche, told the AP that his colleague was fun, easygoing and great to work with. “Even though he laughed easily and joked around, he worked hard.”
Hoche had a 9-year-old son whom he had custody of every other weekend, so he lived a bit of a bachelor lifestyle, Vassilacos said. He and Hoche would go out for beers and chat up women, and Vassilacos said he recently thought they should hang out more often because they had so much in common.
–Cédric Mauduit, director of modernization of the French department of Calvados. The department issued a statement announcing his death at the concert hall, saying that Mauduit “found it a joy to share this concert with his five friends” and said the sadness of those who knew him was “immense.” Anyone who worked with Mauduit, the statement said, could appreciate both his skills and his humanity.
– Patricia San Martin Nunez, 61, a Chilean exile, and her daughter, Elsa Veronique Delplace San Martin, 35. They were attending the concert at the Bataclan with Elsa’s 5-year-old son, who Chilean officials say survived. San Martin Nunez had been exiled from Chile during the dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet, and her daughter was born in France.
In a statement, Chile’s Foreign Ministry described them as the niece and grandniece of Chile’s ambassador to Mexico, Ricardo Nunez. “They were taken hostage, and so far we know they were killed in a cold and brutal manner,” Nunez told Radio Cooperativa on Saturday. He said two people with them escaped alive.
– Valeria Solesin, 28, an Italian-born doctoral student at the Sorbonne. She had lived in Paris for several years and had gone to the concert at the Bataclan with her boyfriend. They lost track of each other as they tried to escape. Her mother, Luciana Milani, told reporters in Venice, “We will miss her very much, and she will be missed, I can also say, by our country. People like this are important.”
Solesin had been working at the Sorbonne as a researcher while completing her doctorate. While at a university in Italy, Solesin had worked as a volunteer for the Italian humanitarian aid group Emergency. “It is tragic that a person so young, who is trying to understand the world and to be a help, find herself involved in such a terrible event,” said Emergency regional coordinator in Trento, Fabrizio Tosini.