US gunman who killed six in rampage is identified as Hollywood director’s son, Elliot Rodger
Associated Press in Goleta, California
A US man who posted a YouTube video calmly describing how he planned to gun down young women went on a rampage shortly afterward, stabbing three people to death in his apartment before fatally shooting three others elsewhere in his beach community and crashing his BWM with a fatal gunshot to the head, authorities said.
Sheriff’s officials on Saturday identified the gunman as Elliot Rodger, 22, the son of a Hollywood director. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire in two shootouts with deputies Friday night or if he killed himself.
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Sheriff Bill Brown called it a “chaotic, rapidly unfolding convoluted incident” that involved multiple crime scenes. Seven people remained hospitalized with serious injuries.
Police described how Rodger went from one location to another near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, firing for 10 minutes on random people. Brown said he had three legally purchased guns and more than 400 rounds of unspent ammunition in his car.
The rampage mirrored threats made on a YouTube video posted Friday night, authorities said. They were analysing the video in which Rodger sits in a car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity.
“You deserve to be annihilated — and I’ll give that to you,” Rodger said. “You never showed me any mercy and so I will show you none. You forced me to suffer all my life and now I’ll make you all suffer. I’ve waited a long time for this.”
The video was taken down Saturday with a message saying it violated the site’s terms of service.
“It’s obviously the work of a madman,” Brown said.
Earlier Saturday, Alan Shifman — a lawyer who represents Peter Rodger, one of the assistant directors on “The Hunger Games” — issued a statement saying his client believed his son, Elliot Rodger, was the shooter. It was unclear how the son would have obtained a gun. The family is “staunchly against guns” and supports gun-control laws, Shifman added.
The lawyer said the family called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos “regarding suicide and the killing of people” that Elliot Rodger had been posting.
Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human,” Shifman added. Police did not find a history of guns, but did say Rodger “didn’t have a lot of friends,” had trouble making friends and didn’t have any girlfriends.
Rodger wrote in a 141-page document how he narrowly missed being found out when the officers knocked on his door. The officers left after determining he didn’t need to be locked up for mental health reasons.
Rodger expressed relief that his apartment wasn’t searched because they would have found his weapons and his writings.
Brown said he wouldn’t second-guess his officers’ decision-making.
Richard Martinez said his son Christopher Martinez, 20, was killed in the rampage. He blamed politicians and gun-rights proponents. “When will this insanity stop? ... Too many have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘Not one more,”‘ he said.
Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson was walking out of a comedy show when he was shot and stumbled into a nearby house.
“He walked into these random guys’ house bleeding,” he said.
“We heard so many gunshots. It was unbelievable. I thought they were firecrackers. There had to have been at least like two guns. There were a lot of shots,” he said.
Blood was still visible on the street Saturday. The wrecked BMW remained, its windshield smashed in and its driver’s door wide open.
“This is almost the kind of event that’s impossible to prevent and almost impossible to predict,” University of California President Janet Napolitano, the former US Secretary of Homeland Security, told reporters.
The Rodger family is not ready to speak publicly yet, but wants to cooperate fully with police, public agencies and “any other person who feels that they need to help prevent these situations from ever occurring again,” Shifman said.
“My client’s mission in life will be to try to prevent any such tragedies from ever happening again,” he said. “This country, this world, needs to address mental illness and the ramifications from not recognising these illnesses.”