Envy and alienation drove desire for revenge, prompting Elliot Rodger to kill six people in California

Son of Hollywood director posted his thoughts and videos online before he went out and killed six people, then turned the gun on himself

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 6:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 10:48am


Watch: 'Elliot Rodger's Retribution' video surfaces after deadly Southern California shootings

A child of privilege, Elliot Rodger should have had the world at his feet.

Instead, the son of a British Hollywood director and ethnic Chinese mother was selfconscious about his race, and he had particular hatred for two groups: The women he says kept him a virgin for all of his 22 years, and the men they chose instead.

In video after video, the college student roamed Santa Barbara like an invisible man, narrating his lonely existence in a strange, clinical tone, consumed by a feeling of total alienation.

Watch: Student witnesses describe California shooting scene

"Look at them," Rodger said to his camera phone, staring at a couple on a picnic bench at the beach. "He's in heaven right now, sitting on this beautiful beach, kissing her, feeling her love, while I'm sitting here alone, 'cause no beautiful girl wants to be my girlfriend."

But that appearance of childlike guilelessness - a 22-year-old man expressing the simple desire to be loved by a woman - gave way to cold rage, then smirking pledges of revenge to come. "I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am the superior one, the true alpha male."

He posted eight such videos on YouTube on Friday evening before, officials say, he went on a rampage. Authorities said he stabbed three people to death at his apartment in Isla Vista; opened fire on women standing outside a sorority, killing two; and then fatally shot someone at a nearby deli. After a gun battle with police, he was found dead in his BMW with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Rodger trumpeted his motives, posting the videos and sending a 137-page typed diatribe titled "My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger" to an online acquaintance.

Rodger was the son of Peter Rodger, a Hollywood director and photographer, who was an assistant director on the first Hunger Games movie.

In Rodger's screed, the ramblings describe the internal turmoil of a young man at once arrogant and pathetic, sinking deeper into despair and anger.

He wrote that he was born in England - his father is British, his mother a Malaysian-born Chinese - and went to a private school. He moved to Woodland Hills in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley when he was five. His parents divorced when he was seven, which he called a "life-changing event."

After the divorce, he said, he realised he was uncool and timid with "a dorky hairstyle" and became self-conscious about his race.

"I was shy and unpopular ... On top of this was the feeling that I was different because I am of mixed race. I am half white, half Asian, and this made me different from the normal fully white kids that I was trying to fit in with."

He wrote that his mother bought him the BMW to give him confidence, but it didn't. Seeing any couple set him off. In particular he vented about Indian, Asian and black men dating the blond women he desired.

An earlier plan to exact revenge on women backfired. He wrote that he tried to shove "girls" at a party over a ledge, but couldn't do it, and then men pushed him over. "When I landed, I felt a snap in my ankle ... I got up and found that I couldn't even walk ... I tried to get away from there as fast as I could."

But he realised someone had taken the Gucci sunglasses his mother had given him, and went back to get them. The same people he had tangled with before began mocking him, then dragged him into the driveway to beat him up, he wrote.

Rodger wrote that he first began to plan his "Day of Retribution" last spring, buying a Glock 34 for US$700. "I brought it back to my room and felt a new sense of power," he wrote. "If only one pretty girl had shown some form of attraction to me, the Day of Retribution would never happen."

In one video, he approached his car, and the camera caught his reflection on it. "There's me, in all my fabulousness," he said with disdain.

He sat in the driver's seat.

"Sex, love, companionship - I deserved those things ... But girls are not sexually attracted to me."

His tone turned more menacing. "That's a problem I'm going to rectify. I, in all my magnificence and power, I will not let this fly."

With a smirking snort, he signed off. "It's an injustice that needs to be dealt with."


California gunman's family strongly against weapons, says lawyer

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 series in 2012 brought him a notable credit.

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