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Santa Barbara shooter improvised when killings didn't go as planned

By Martha Mendoz & Justin Pritchard

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:50 a.m. HST, May 25, 2014

GOLETA, Calif. >> Elliot Rodger pounded on the sorority house front door while, inside, the young women he yearned to slaughter were preparing for another Friday night.

The awkward 22-year-old was obsessed with exacting "retribution" for what he experienced as a lifetime of social and sexual isolation, and had planned meticulously to target as many people as possible. But here again, he was denied access to those he felt should worship him.

So when no one answered after several minutes, Rodger improvised.

Walking around the corner, he found a group of students and opened fire, then took off in his black BMW through the streets of a college beach town buzzing with end-of-school-year energy. Within 10 minutes, the rampage was over and Rodger was dead, apparently after shooting himself.

As authorities reconstructed the events, they would conclude that Rodger had stabbed three victims in his apartment, shot and killed three others at random, and injured 13 more either with gunshots or a car that he used as a battering ram against bicyclists and skateboarders.

The mayhem unfolded within just one square mile near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, but included 12 crime scenes.

The killings began with the stabbings in the apartment that Rodger rented, inside a two-story courtyard building fronted by palm trees. Authorities have released few details, other than that all the victims were male and killed Friday.

Rodger then drove five blocks to the Alpha Phi sorority house.

In rambling writings he titled "My Twisted World," Rodger detailed his plan to kill his roommates and then invade the sorority, which he concluded symbolized the world that tortured him -- beautiful women who would have spurned him in favor of the "obnoxious slobs" whom he also despised.

"I will sneak into their house at around 9:00 p.m. on the Day of Retribution, just before all the partying starts, and slaughter every single one of them," Rodger wrote. He knew the stucco house, with its neatly trimmed lawn and hedges, well: "I've sat outside it in my car to stalk them many times."

The double front door is heavy wood, with glass etchings of the sorority's shield and an electronic keypad to get in. Several women heard Rodger's "aggressive knocking," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. "Fortunately, no one opened."

Moments later came the first 911 call.

It was 9:27 p.m., and Rodger had left the door and within 20 paces encountered a group that included Veronika Weiss and Katherine Cooper. He shot and killed the two UCSB students, and wounded a third.

All three were from the Delta Delta Delta sorority. The outgoing Cooper was preparing to graduate with a degree in art history; Weiss was a first-year student who had played water polo in high school.

Two blocks and three minutes later, Rodger was at a local deli. There, he got out of his car, went inside and shot and killed Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez. Friends described him as the kind of person who would welcome strangers into his home. He planned to study abroad and then go to law school.

At least four other customers were inside, and surveillance video shows them scrambling for cover while a bullet hits the glass of a refrigerator door.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene and saw Rodger's BMW leaving, but did not know the shooter was at the wheel.

Soon after, Rodger was driving on the left side of another road so that he could be close to the sidewalk as he fired at two pedestrians. And then, more shots -- this time between Rodger and the first sheriff's deputy to engage with him.

Meanwhile, Ryan Ellis was wrapping up his Friday night service at Isla Vista Church, a makeshift house of worship inside a beach home on a street filled with students -- and on Friday night, parties.

A few dozen young adults were getting ready for hamburgers when shots rang out. Fireworks, someone said.

"I knew right away it was gunshots," said Ellis, who said he had been a Navy combat engineer in Afghanistan.

He ran out to the street and saw a cyclist lying on the ground, but no car around. "He was pretty messed up, lying up against a vehicle," said Ellis.

The cyclist, who was not identified, was one of two whom Rodger intentionally smashed with his car.

By now, officers were yelling at people to go inside and friends were texting friends not to go out.

After shooting at more pedestrians, Rodger encountered four sheriff's deputies running through a park. Three returned fire, and a bullet hit Rodger in his left hip, authorities said.

Speeding on, Rodger accelerated and hit another cyclist, who was thrown onto the hood with a force that crumpled the windshield. Rodger's car then careened into several parked vehicles. It was there, in the car, that he apparently shot himself.

"The police dragged a body out of the car," said UC Santa Barbara senior Kyley Scarlet, who was in a house next to where the car came to a halt. "It was him."


Pritchard reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus in Los Angeles and Frank Baker in Goleta contributed to this report.

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yhls wrote:
If the report here is accurate and I say this because at least half the time when it comes to gun violence the media gets the story completely wrong. Here you have a case where this person's own family reported him, the police came to investigate and completely screwed up. He's threatening to kill people and posting videos on You Tune and they don't even search his room or bring him in for psychiatric evaluation? How stupid is that? The police are idiots and cannot protect you from mad men. And neither will any further gun bans.
on May 25,2014 | 06:15AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
So the guy killed all these people because he couldn't score? Geez.
on May 25,2014 | 07:38AM
jmarie wrote:
You have to start from the bottom then work your way up. For the boys out there who find themselves in a similar position I say "Go Ugly Early" works every time.
on May 25,2014 | 09:50AM
8082062424 wrote:
this guy was not bad looking and he had money. that tell you those who came into contact with him knew that something was not right. even the ugly ones would have stayed clear
on May 25,2014 | 10:28AM
inverse wrote:
Agree, his so called rant about not getting any dates with 'attractive' women is only a mask and excuse for this guys' underlying mental problems. 22 year old driving around in a $60K BMW and his big hollywood producer dad probably giving his son the car and a major bucks to spend, including plenty of money to build up a major arsenal of guns and ammunition is all secondary to his mental illness. The parents notified police to late to really do anything. Find it hard to believe the parents did not realize sooner that their son had serious mental issues. This guy reminds me of Adam Mau Gofredo and his rampage of murdering three people. in that case the family and his caretaker stuck their head in the sand with their ticking time bomb son.
on May 26,2014 | 05:24AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Somewhere out there, there is someone feeling exactly the same way as this kid - or worse, others who either sympathize or share with his feelings and anquishes/feelings - and even worse, understand and perhaps even agree with his actions on some level - maybe not even for the same specific reasons, but for perceived injustices of some sort. But, the real problem, is that all those sharers, sympathizers, understanders and agree-ers can probably easily and legally (at this point in our history) buy guns and ammo, in quantities of both that would permit them to fire repeatedly over the course of minutes, and reload multiple times. And, worst of all, there are those out there, today, right now, this second, who would defend the kid's and those like him's right to obtain those guns and ammo.
on May 25,2014 | 01:47PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Of course, it is IMPORTANT for everyone to be able to arm themselves like NEO in the Matrix. Because, you never know when an endless supply of bad guys dressed as cops are going to empty their M-16's at you when you're trying to save and/or right the world, or bad guys dressed like cops are going to try and make you pay for illegal grazing use of federal lands, or some kid in a hoodie is going to attack you on his way home from 7-11. I guess we "need" to allow things like Santa Barbara to happen to protect against all of those other things.
on May 25,2014 | 03:07PM
onevoice82 wrote:
right now, everywhere, in a city like yours CriticalReader....a kid can buy a car and drive around taking out cyclists. We need to outlaw cars and teens!
on May 25,2014 | 03:35PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Nah, start with guns. That makes more sense considering the nature of guns. Then, maybe get to cars and teens. But guns are first on the list. Not only do they lead to death through shooting (the intended purpose of a gun, as opposed to the transportation purpose of a car, and the regeneration of the species purpose of a teen), but it causes inane, and societal-degenerating-sophistry ridden arguments like, "We need to outlaw cars and teens!" by yahoos trying to justify the existence of guns in our society.
on May 25,2014 | 03:45PM
inverse wrote:
Appears stricter gun laws, specifically concealed carry, only keep guns out of the hand of law abiding responsible people who might have been able to stop this guy when he started shooting randomly in public. Guns laws do NOT deter criminals and mentally ill people from obtaining and using firearms against innocent bystanders. Concealed carry requires a background check, registration, and requirement for proper training to allow law abiding, responsible citizens to help protect themselves and others from these type of sick people or criminals. In States with the strictest gun laws it is a guaranteed slaughter of many people because the gunman KNOWS all the people he shoots, stabs or tries to run over, do not have any firearms to defend themselves.
on May 26,2014 | 05:39AM
onevoice82 wrote:
The "Bath School Disaster" in the 1920's was the largest in American history and it was done with bombs. We should outlaw bombs and make them unavailable to crazy's.....oh wait.....they already are outlawed and hard to obtain!
on May 25,2014 | 03:41PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Not only "inane, and societal-degenerating-sophistry ridden arguments", but also pointless, low-intelligence revealing ones as well.
on May 25,2014 | 03:58PM
false wrote:
Domineering mom???
on May 25,2014 | 03:21PM
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