ISLA VISTA, Calif. — Six people were killed and another seven injured on Friday night in a bloody drive-by shooting on the crowded streets of a small college town near Santa Barbara, as what police described as a mentally disturbed gunman methodically opened fire in a 10-minute spasm of terror.
The suspected shooter — who is believed to be Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old son of a Hollywood director — was found dead with a bullet wound to his head after his black BMW crashed into another car. He had engaged in a round of gunfire with sheriff’s deputies in Isla Vista, near the University of California, Santa Barbara. A semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the car, the police said.
“We have obtained and are analyzing written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder,” Bill Brown, the Santa Barbara County sheriff, said at a news conference early Saturday.
Brown did not identify the shooter, but a lawyer for the family confirmed that Rodger was the driver of the BMW. Also, the California license plates on the car involved in the crash — 6ELX898 — matched those in a photo posted on Rodger’s Facebook page that showed him seated behind the wheel of a black BMW.
On various social media outlets, Rodger, a student at Santa Barbara City College, described himself as a sexually frustrated and angry virgin about to go on “a mission of retribution” over young women who had rejected him. The video was posted on YouTube, on Rodger’s Facebook page and on his blog.
“For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me,” Rodger said in the video. “In those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls have never been attracted to me, but I will punish you for it.”
He then laid out his plans to target women on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus.
“On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB, and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde slut I see inside there. All those girls I’ve desired so much,” he said. “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.”
Rodger’s father, Peter Rodger, who lives in Los Angeles, has written screenplays and was the second unit director on the film “The Hunger Games.”
In response to a question about the video, Brown said investigators were reviewing it and that it appeared to be related to the shooting. But the sheriff made clear that he was not identifying Rodger as the gunman. YouTube later removed the video, saying it violated its content standards.
The video was one of a series, many posted in the past 24 hours, in which Rodger presented himself as a lonely and frustrated young man, unable to meet women or find sexual fulfillment.
The six people killed, as well as the gunman, were declared dead at crime scenes scattered across the grid of streets the man traveled — driving slowly as he fired his gun, according to witnesses. Another seven people were hospitalized, including one with life-threatening injuries, the authorities said. Brown said there were at least nine crime scenes.
The identities of the victims were not immediately released.
Most of the fatalities appeared to have occurred in front of the IV Deli Mart on Pardall Road, a Friday night gathering spot where the gunman stopped and opened fire. Witnesses said bystanders, confused at first by the pop-pop-pop of gunshots in this idyllic oceanside community, began diving to the ground or running for cover.
Ian Papa, 20, a student at Santa Barbara City College, said he had been walking to get a slice of pizza when he encountered the gunman. He described the car as driving swiftly and wildly through the streets, at one point knocking down two bicyclists and mangling the leg of one of them.
“We saw a BMW driving slowly, and then in seconds it hit the accelerator — it was going 60-plus,” Papa said Saturday morning. “He hit two bikes. One he barely grazed. The other was plowed down. The biker went through the windshield, and the driver took off.”
Carolina Bowles, 19, a freshman at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said she had been in her apartment complex when she heard a deafening barrage of gunfire.
“We looked out the window, and three girls were running, ducked down, trying to get back down into the store,” she said.
The police said the gunman had acted alone, and they repeatedly described him as a mentally disturbed person on a premeditated mission of murder.
“It’s obviously the work of a madman,” Brown said. “There’s going to be a lot more information that’s going to come out that is going to give indications of how disturbed this individual was.”
The episode began shortly before 9:27 p.m. Friday, when police received the first 911 calls reporting gunshots. Brown said the gunman engaged deputies six minutes later in a brief shootout before speeding off, and then exchanged fire with another deputy. He said it was not clear whether the gunman had been killed by the deputies or had shot himself.United States - North America - California - University of California - Santa Barbara - University of California Santa Barbara
First Published May 24, 2014 11:03 AM