Students returned to class Monday at Cal State Long Beach for the first time since one of their own was killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris, with crisis counselors and social workers on hand to provide assistance for those coping with her death.
Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, of El Monte, a senior majoring in industrial design, was one of 17 CSULB students attending a college of design in Paris as part of a semester abroad program. She was killed while having dinner with friends at a popular bistro called La Belle Equipe.
About 500 people gathered at a remembrance ceremony at the CSULB campus Sunday to pay tribute to her.
University President Jane Close Conoley told the mourners that the university is a tight-knit community that shares the Gonzalez family’s grief, saying her death was”an assault on our hearts.”
“We miss her today and we’ll miss her forever,” Conoley said.
A candlelight vigil will be held at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Whittier High School. Gonzalez graduated from the school in 2010.
“She was kind to everyone — a remarkable and unforgettable person,” Alejandra Gonzalez, who said she was on the cross-country team with Gonzalez at Whittier High, told the Los Angeles Times. “The world lost such a beautiful shining light.”
During Sunday’s ceremony, The chairman of CSULB’s industrial design program told the Gonzalez family that Nohemi was a luminary among her peers.
“We are all heartbroken that such a beautiful light has been ripped from us,” Dr. Martin Herman said. “(Her) goodness and compassion infused the department.”
Gonzalez was one of 129 people killed in Friday’s attacks. A music executive and a British man who worked for the Palm Desert-based rock band Eagles of Death Metal were also among those killed. The band was performing at the Bataclan theater in Paris when gunmen stormed the building and began shooting patrons.
“I cannot even begin to express the depth of my sorrow,” Universal Music Group Chairman Lucian Grainge wrote in a note to employees discussing the death of Thomas Ayad. “On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we extend our most profound sympathies to his parents and all of his friends and family.”
Grainge called the death of Ayad, an international product manager for Mercury, “an unspeakably appalling tragedy.”
Eagles of Death Metal was seven songs into its sold-out concert when gunshots interrupted the performance. Of the 129 deaths blamed on ISIS terrorists, 89 were killed at the Bataclan.
The band members escaped unharmed. But Nick Alexander, a British man who sold merchandise for Eagles of Death Metal, was among those killed.
In a statement to the British press, Alexander’s family said that “with huge sorrow … we can confirm that our beloved Nick lost his life at the Bataclan last night.” A statement said he “died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much he was cherished by his friends around the world.”
Britain’s The Independent newspaper reported that Alexander was 36 and from Colchester in Essex.
— Staff and wire reports