A college student from California is the first American fatality identified in the Paris terror attacks.
Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a senior design major at California State University-Long Beach spending a semester studying at Strate College of Design in Sèvres, France, was killed at one of the restaurants struck by terrorists Friday night.
“She was a great girl, one of the best,” her aunt, Sandra Felt, told NBC News. “She planned her whole trip to Paris — always a go-getter, very organized person. She worked to save money for her trip.”
Felt said the family called Gonzalez by the nickname “Mimi,” and said that “everything was working out” for the woman who always dreamed of learning French and studying in Paris.
“Why a beautiful young lady, who had so much to offer, and her life was going so well for her? How could this happen to her? She was always cautious about everything,” Felt said.
Gonzalez was out in Paris with other Long Beach State students when she was shot, university associate vice president Terri Carbaugh told reporters. After the gunfire, a friend saw Gonzalez being carried away on a stretcher.
Carbaugh praised the thoughtfulness of Gonzalez’ friends, who contacted her friends and family in California and kept them updated during a chaotic situation. The university will hold a vigil Sunday.
“I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Long Beach State University student Nohemi Gonzalez. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this sad time,” university President Jane Close Conoley said in a statement.
“Our university stands with our nearly eighty foreign exchange students from France as they struggle with this tragedy. We will extend all support necessary to comfort them. We will also extend support to all students, faculty and staff who are in need.”