Franck-Olivier Gauthier was a French-born Santa Monica College student, who in his short 21 years, had traveled across Europe and Africa before landing in California.
He died March 12—one month before his 22nd birthday—from injuries sustained in a .
His family resides in Paris, and shared memories of Gauthier in letters and messages sent via email.
Friends say they were drawn to Gauthier because he was upbeat, humble, open-minded and creative.
When it came time to pick a university, he chose Santa Monica College, because he was in love with California and wanted a multicultural environment, said his aunt Jeanne-Elvire Adotevi.
He worked at the college bookstore while studying finance. When he wasn't working or in class, Gauthier mixed beats from a home studio. He set his sights on attending SAE Institute, an audio engineering and music production school in Los Angeles.
Mother Huguette Adotevi:
Franck-Olivier was a young person with great integrity. For him, a friend is a 'FRIEND,' and he looks at and behaves towards him as a member of his close family
Friend Rim Hab:
Franck was really, and I rarely say this, one of a kind. His energetic persona and friendly approach was unmatched. I always reminded him of what he had accomplished and where his ambitions could take him since I knew that he had what many lacked, a goal.
I will always remember you as a positive person... Thank you for showing the happy side of this world.
Brother Mark Doumba:
Thanks to his technologic savvy, Franco mastered all the recording software and tools which enabled him to sample voices, mix, and speed-up music beats. As young as Franco was, he listened to a wide-ranging variety of music styles, eras, and influences in different languages. His taste was particularly affected by African music, after Franco moved to live in Benin (West Africa) for a year with his grandmother. This experience has further shaped him into the personal he had become, tough, and respectful of elders.
Elease Juarez, Santa Monica College bookstore operations assistant:
He was very respectful—he was always that way to supervisors, too... he never used profanity. He was like a little gentleman. He treated his peers the same why like he would want to be treated.
Aunts Mireille, Hélène and Jeanne-Elvire:
We learned a lot from him as he used to live his choices with passion at their fullest.