POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, May 25, 2014
ISLA VISTA, Calif. » The son of a Hollywood director who documented his rage against women for rejecting him killed six people and wounded 13 others during a spasm of terror Friday night, some stabbed to death in his apartment and others methodically shot while he drove through the crowded streets of this small college town.
The gunman, identified by police as Elliot O. Rodger, 22, was found dead with a bullet wound to the head after his black BMW crashed into a parked car following two shootouts with sheriff's deputies near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara; police said it appeared that he had shot himself. Deputies found three semi-automatic handguns with 400 unspent rounds in his car. All were purchased legally.
Later Saturday, police said they had recovered the bodies of three men from the apartment complex where Rodger lived. All three had been stabbed.
Barely 24 hours before the killing spree, Rodger had posted a video on YouTube in which he sat behind the steering wheel of his BMW and for seven minutes recounted the isolation and sexual frustrations of his life, pausing for an occasional self-mocking laugh.
Rodger posted other videos expressing his frustration, and a lawyer for the family said that they had expressed their concern about some of these videos to the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office. The police confirmed that sheriff's deputies were sent to check on Rodger's well-being on April 30 but found no reason to involuntarily commit him for a mental health evaluation. The police also reported two other encounters with him, including once when he reported that he had been attacked.
In his last video, he spoke of the women who rejected him, the happiness he saw around him, and his life as a virgin at the age of 22. He called his message "Elliot Rodger's Retribution," and said it was the last video he would post.
"It all has to come to this," Rodger said, his voice at once placid and chilling. "Tomorrow is the day of retribution. The day I will have my retribution against humanity. Against all of you. 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. In those years I've had to rot in loneliness."
"I do not know why you girls aren't attracted to me," he said, "But I will punish you all for it."
On Friday, at 9:27 p.m. in this college town just up the coast from Santa Barbara, police said that Rodger launched his revenge.
Investigators spent Saturday working nine crime scenes along Rodger's deadly route. Late in the afternoon, they added a 10th — his apartment.
In addition to his chilling video, Rodger had prepared a 140-page manifesto in which he laid out his plan for the killings, starting with luring potential victims to his apartment.
"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.
Kyle Sullivan, 19, of Hawaii, a student at Santa Barbara City College, told CNN that he saw three women sprawled in the grass in front of the Alpha Phi sorority house. Only one of them appeared conscious and she had called her mother on her cellphone and told her in a frantic voice she was not sure if she would survive, he said.
In videos, a blog, on Facebook, and the manifesto, Rodger — the son of Peter Rodger, a director who worked on "The Hunger Games" — portrayed himself as a loner in a pleasant and perpetually sunny college town along the California coast. He spoke of going to beaches and watching with rage as couples held hands or kissed, of escaping to serenity on the local golf course because he knew, he said, he would never see a couple there.
His agitation appeared to grow over the past few days.
The Rodger family, through their lawyer, Alan Shifman, issued a statement expressing their sympathy for the victims.
"We offer our deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy," said the statement, read by Shifman. "We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain and our hearts go out to everyone involved."
The six people killed, as well as Rodger, were declared dead at crime scenes scattered across the grid of streets the gunman traveled. At least seven people were hospitalized, including one with life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
The identities of the victims began trickling out through the day. The father of Christopher Martinez, one of the men killed in the shootings, offered a brief and emotionally wrenching denunciation of gun advocates and policies that he said led to the death of his child.
"This death has left our family lost and broken," said the father, Richard Martinez. "Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live? When will this insanity stop?"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ian Lovett and Adam Nagourney, New York Times