California gunman’s family strongly against weapons, says lawyer

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 10:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 10:30pm

A lawyer for Hollywood director Peter Rodger, whose son went on a deadly shooting rampage in California, says his family is "staunchly" against guns and wants to fully cooperate with police to prevent such tragedies ever occurring again.

Alan Shifman 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.

Shifmen said Rodger was diagnosed as a high-functioning patient with Asperger's syndrome - a type of autism - and had trouble making friends. Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human", Shifman added.

"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."

Peter Rodger has not been a major player in Hollywood, but his work as an assistant director on the first instalment of the verypopular The Hunger Games

Rodger's was a second-unit director, one of five on the film responsible for production away from the principal set. Directed by Gary Ross, The Hunger Games tells of a dystopian world where teens fight each other to the death in a televised spectacle. The film, which cost about US$80 million to make and grossed nearly US$700 million worldwide, was filmed throughout North Carolina.

Rodger's other noteworthy credit was a 2009 documentary called Oh My God. The film, which asked people from various backgrounds and faiths about what God was to them, cost nearly US$1.3 million to make but grossed only US$38,000. Celebrities inverviewed in the film included Hugh Jackman, David Copperfield, Ringo Starr and Seal.

Rodger is currently working as an assistant director on an animated short called Amazon: Crossroads to Survival.

He is the son of the late George Rodger, a renowned British war photographer who went on to found the Magnum photo agency.

Associated Press