Sheriff: Calif. gunman killed 3 people at home

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by Raquel Maria Dillon, Martha Mendoza and Julie Watson, Associated Press

Video report by Mary Mueller, CNN

Posted on May 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Updated Sunday, May 25 at 2:57 PM

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) -- The son of a Hollywood director stabbed three men to death in his apartment, gunned down two women outside a sorority and killed a sixth person in a rampage that was foreshadowed by a chilling Internet video in which he vowed to his victims that he would "take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you."

Authorities said the 22-year-old lone gunman, Elliot Rodger - the son of a director who worked on the "The Hunger Games" - carried out his attacks Friday night in the beach community of Isla Vista near the University of California, Santa Barbara. The rampage happened hours after he looked into a video camera and warned in a disturbing Internet video that he would slaughter those with a good life - especially women who shunned him, authorities said.

Deputies wounded him during two separate shootouts as he sped through Isla Vista, leaving a trail of bloodshed that ended with Rodger apparently shooting himself in the head before crashing his black BMW into a parked car, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Thirteen people were injured - eight from gunshot wounds, four from being hit by his car and one who suffered a minor injury whose exact cause was not clear yet, Brown said.

Deputies found three semi-automatic handguns with 400 unspent rounds in his black BMW. All were purchased legally.

Authorities had had three contacts with Rodgers in the past year, including one case in which he claimed to be beaten but deputies suspected he was the aggressor. On April 30, officials went to his Isla Vista apartment again to check on him at the request of his family. But deputies reported back that the Santa Barbara community college student was shy, polite and having a difficult social life but did not need to be taken in for mental health reasons, Brown said.

Attorney Alan Shifman said the Rodger family had called police after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people" that Elliot Rodger had been posting.

Brown called the tragedy "the work of a madman" and said the videotape posted by Rodger the night of the killings is a "particularly chilling one, in which he looks at the camera and talks about what he is about to do."

In the YouTube video, Rodger sits in a car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity. He describes loneliness and frustration because "girls have never been attracted to me," and says, at age 22, he is still a virgin. The video, which is almost seven minutes long, appears scripted.

"I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male," he says on the video.

Police described how he spent 10 minutes traveling from one location to another and opened fire on random people after leaving a gruesome scene at his apartment, where three men were stabbed to death.

Earlier Saturday, Shifman issued a statement saying Peter Rodger 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, he added.

"The Rodger family offers their deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy. We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain, and our hearts go out to everybody involved," Shifman said.

Richard Martinez said his son Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, 20, was killed in the shooting. 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.

The shootings started around 9:30 p.m. in Isla Vista, a roughly half-square-mile community next to UC Santa Barbara's campus and picturesque beachside cliffs.

Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson was walking out of an improv comedy show when he was shot in front of a popular pizza place. He stumbled into a nearby house.

"He walked into these random guys' house bleeding," he said.

Mattera was sitting at a bonfire with friends when at least one gunshot whizzed overhead. The friends ran for cover when they heard the barrage of gunfire.

"We heard so many gunshots. It was unbelievable. I thought they were firecrackers," he said.

Isla Vista, which is centered on university life with outdoor cafes, bike shops, burger joints, sororities and fraternities, was shrouded in fog and unusually quiet Saturday.

Police tape crisscrossed Isla Vista streets, while blood was still visible on the asphalt. Bullet holes pierced windows of a parked car and the IV Deli Mart. A small shrine of flowers was growing outside the business, whose floors inside were stained with blood. For much of the day, the wrecked BMW driven by the shooter remained on the street, its windshield smashed in and its driver's door wide open.

UC Santa Barbara senior Kyley Scarlet said she heard the BMW smash to a halt outside a house she was in. Scarlet, who is a former sorority president, said two women from a sorority next door were killed on the lawn, where a pile of flowers grew on Saturday.

Crying students wandered up to the spot, shook their heads and hugged each other.

Scarlet said a third sorority member was wounded there as well.

Scarlet said she was very disturbed by the video describing his anger at sorority girls.

"It's hard thinking my actions, being part of a sorority, led him to do this," she said. "When I saw that video, I was shaking and crying."

In a statement, the university said it was "shocked and saddened" that several students were shot.

"This is almost the kind of event that's impossible to prevent and almost impossible to predict," UC President Janet Napolitano told reporters after giving the commencement speech at Laney College in Oakland, California.

California Gov. Jerry Brown offered his condolences to the victims' families, saying he was saddened to learn "of this senseless tragedy."

The Rodger family is not ready to speak publicly yet, but wants to cooperate fully with police, 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 recognizing these illnesses."

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Dillon and Mendoza reported from Goleta, California, and Watson reported from San Diego. Associated Press writers Alicia Chang and Gillian Flaccus contributed from Los Angeles, and Frank Baker from Santa Barbara.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Rampage mirrors threats made on YouTube video

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) -- The gunman fired for 10 minutes from his BMW as he made his way down streets filled with university students walking, biking and skateboarding in the beach community near Santa Barbara, picking off people one by one in a deadly rampage that chillingly mirrored threats made on a YouTube video posted that same night. Seven people were killed in all, including the gunman.

A Hollywood director believes his son was the lone gunman found dead behind the wheel of the BMW that crashed into a parked car, ending the shootings Friday night in the beach neighborhood of Isla Vista near the University of California, Santa Barbara, the family's lawyer said Saturday. Seven others remained hospitalized with serious injuries.

Authorities were not naming the shooter yet but said they had identified him. Investigators were analyzing a YouTube video in which a young man sits in a car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity.

"It's obviously the work of a madman," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Alan Shifman - a lawyer who represents Peter Rodger, one of the assistant directors on "The Hunger Games" - issued a statement on behalf of the family saying they believe Rodger's son, Elliot Rodger, was the shooter.

"The Rodger family offers their deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy. We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain, and our hearts go out to everybody involved," Shifman said.

The shootings started around 9:30 p.m. in Isla Vista, a roughly half-square-mile community next to UC Santa Barbara's campus and picturesque beachside cliffs.

Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson was walking out of an improv comedy show when he was shot in front of a popular pizza place. He stumbled into a nearby house.

"He walked into these random guys' house bleeding," he said.

Mattera was sitting at a bonfire with friends when at least one gunshot whizzed overhead. The friends ran for cover when they heard the barrage of gunfire.

"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.

The gunman got into two gun battles before crashing his black BMW into a parked car. It wasn't immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire or if he committed suicide. A semi-automatic handgun was recovered.

Describing the shootings as "premeditated mass murder," Brown said a YouTube video posted Friday that shows a young man describing plans to shoot women appears to be connected to the attack.

He describes loneliness and frustration because "girls have never been attracted to me," and says, at age 22, he is still a virgin. The video, which is almost seven minutes long, appears scripted. The identity of the person in the video could not be independently confirmed.

Shifman, the attorney for the Rodger family, said the family called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people" that Rodger's son, Elliot Rodger, had been posting.

Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human," he 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.

Isla Vista, which is centered on university life with outdoor cafes, bike shops, burger joints, sororities and fraternities blocks from the beach, was shrouded in fog and unusually quiet Saturday.

Police tape crisscrossed Isla Vista streets, while blood was still visible on the asphalt Saturday. Bullet holes could be seen in the window of the IV Deli Mark and a parked car. The wrecked BMW driven by the shooter remained on the street, its windshield smashed in and its driver's door wide open.

Tyler Martin, a UCSB freshman from Danville, California, was visiting his injured friend at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where the seven victims were being treated.

He said two friends were riding longboards near his home about 9:30 p.m. when a car suddenly came up from behind and ran over one and clipped the other. Martin ran outside to help and tended to his most injured friend.

"As I was leaning over and trying to comfort him - he was in a lot of pain, obviously - I heard pop, pop, pop," Martin said.

The friend who was run over suffered leg injuries and was in surgery Saturday. The other friend was not seriously hurt.

In a statement, the university said several students were shot and taken to the hospital and it was "shocked and saddened" by the tragedy.

"This is almost the kind of event that's impossible to prevent and almost impossible to predict," UC President Janet Napolitano told reporters after giving the commencement speech at Laney College in Oakland, California.

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown offered his condolences to the victims' families, saying he was saddened to learn "of this senseless tragedy."

The 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 recognizing these illnesses."

Shifman said the family is "staunchly against guns" and supports gun-control laws. "They are extremely, extremely upset that anybody was hurt under these circumstances," he said.

Isla Vista has a reputation for excessive partying. Last month, an annual spring bash spiraled into violence as young people clashed with police and tossed rocks and bottles. A university police officer and four deputies were injured and 130 people were arrested.

The community has experienced other tragedies in the past.

In 2001, the son of "Ally McBeal" TV director Daniel Attias ran down four pedestrians with his car on a crowded Isla Vista street. Witnesses testified that part-time college student David Attias got of the car and shouted: "I am the angel of death."

David Attias was ruled insane after he was convicted of second-degree murder and is locked up in a state mental hospital.

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Dillon and Mendoza reported from Goleta, California, and Watson reported from San Diego. Associated Press writers Alicia Chang and Gillian Flaccus contributed from Los Angeles, and Frank Baker from Santa Barbara.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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7 dead in drive-by shooting near UC Santa Barbara

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) -- A drive-by shooter went on a nighttime rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded, authorities said Saturday.

The gunman got into two gun battles with deputies Friday night in the beachside community of Isla Vista before crashing his black BMW into a parked car, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Deputies found him dead with a gunshot wound to the head, but it wasn't immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire or if he committed suicide, he said.

A semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the scene near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Investigators know the gunman's name, but Brown said he couldn't release it pending notification of relatives.

"We're analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder," Brown said.

A disturbing YouTube video posted that shows a young man describing plans to shoot women appears to be connected to the attack, police said. Officials would not say whether the person in the video was a suspect in the shooting.

In the video, posted Friday, the man sits in a black car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity. He describes loneliness and frustration because "girls have never been attracted to me," and says, at age 22, he is still a virgin. The video, which is almost seven minutes long, appears scripted. The identity of the person in the video could not be independently confirmed.

The shootings started around 9:30 p.m. in Isla Vista, a roughly half-square mile community next to UC Santa Barbara's campus and picturesque beachside cliffs.

Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson, was walking out of an improv comedy show when he was shot in front of a popular pizza place. He stumbled into a nearby house.

"He walked into these random guys' house bleeding," he said.

Mattera was sitting at a bonfire with friends when at least one gunshot whizzed overhead. The friends ran for cover when they heard the barrage of gunfire.

"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.

The shootings occurred at several sites, resulting in nine crime scenes, police said.

A visibly shaken student told the station she was approached by the driver of a black BMW who flashed a handgun and asked "Hey, what's up?" The student, who didn't provide her full name, said she thought he was carrying an airsoft gun and kept walking. She said seconds later, she felt something buzz by her head and quickly realized they were bullets.

Kathrin Schirazi Rad got a call from her 21-year-old son, Adrian Timothy Petersson, who told her in a shaky voice that he had been knocked off his skateboard by a BMW being chased by police about 9 p.m. Friday. He hurt his shoulder, but he went home after being checked by first responders to the scene.

"He was in shock," said Rad, who lives in Sweden. "He saw some plastic bags and said somebody must have died. He couldn't confirm anything, he was pretty shaken up. It was so many things happening at the same time."

The victims' identities were not immediately released. The injured were being treated for gunshot wounds and traumatic injuries, including at least one person who underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries, Brown said.

Isla Vista has a reputation for excessive partying. Last month, an annual spring bash spiraled into violence as young people clashed with police and tossed rocks and bottles. A university police officer and four deputies were injured and 130 people were arrested.

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Dillon reported from Goleta, Calif., and Watson reported from San Diego.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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