Hong, 20, who went by the name James, grew up in Taipei and was pursuing a degree in computer science, according to his Facebook page.
Friends said he was a hard-working and bright student who was always willing to help others.
“He would always smile at everyone he knows,” said Han Chou, who knew the victim at UC Santa Barbara.
He graduated from Lynbrook High School in San Jose. His drama teacher remembered him as a quiet student who was happy to work backstage to ensure that his classmates could shine.
“James was shy, quiet, gentle, sweet, kind and most respectful,” Laurel Cohen told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday. “Not someone who easily could engage in conversation. But I remember his earnest nature, conviction, honesty and mostly his smile; it lit up a room.”
Authorities said Hong was among the three young men found dead in Rodger’s apartment.
In January, Rodger accused Hong of stealing three candles, valued at $22, said Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County district attorney.
When Hong said he didn’t know where the candles were, Rodger performed a citizen’s arrest and called police. Sheriff’s deputies found the candles on Hong’s bed. He was arrested and charged with a petty theft infraction.
The strange incident was one of three contacts authorities had with Rodger before he went on the deadly rampage.
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