7 Dead, Including Suspect, In Violent Rampage Near Santa Barbara University Campus
GOLETA, Calif. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A California gunman who went on a rampage near a Santa Barbara university stabbed three people to death at his apartment before shooting to death three more in a terrorizing crime spree through a neighborhood, sheriff’s officials said Saturday.
As CBS 2’s David Begnaud reported, the alleged attacker posted a warning on YouTube just hours before the massacre in the college town.
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Chaos erupted in Isla Vista around 9:30 p.m. Friday as gunshots were fired from inside a black BMW.
“I just thought it was an airsoft gun or something. I was like ‘hey, what’s up,’ and I started walking the other way and he and then he shot,” said one witness.
Police said the man pulling the trigger was 22-year-old Elliot Rodger — a student at a nearby community college.
When the 10-minute attack was over, seven people were dead, including Rodger.
“It would appear as though he took his own life at this point,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.
Investigators now say the path of violence started at Rodger’s apartment. Inside three men were stabbed to death.
From there, Brown said Rodger drove to a sorority house, but couldn’t get inside. He allegedly shot three women in front of the house. Two of them were killed.
Then, Rodger allegedly got into his car and committed several drive-by shootings. One more person was killed and 13 people were injured.
Of the 13 injured, eight were wounded by gunshots, four were injured from being hit by the BMW, and one suffered a minor injury from an unknown cause.
The grief was overwhelming for the father of one of the victims — 20-year-old Christopher Martinez.
“You don’t think it will happen to your child til it does. Chris was a great kid. We are lost and broken,” Richard Martinez said.
Deputies found three semi-automatic handguns with 400 unspent rounds in his black BMW. All were purchased legally.
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.
The Sheriff’s Department had recently made contact with the alleged gunman. His own family became concerned after seeing his many YouTube videos, some of which threatened suicide and violence.
The Rodger family’s attorney said the 22-year-old had Asperger syndrome, which is on the Autism spectrum. He was also seeing several therapists.
Brown said his department had no evidence to put Rodger in an involuntary hold.
Rodger’s father is a director who worked on the “The Hunger Games.”
Earlier Saturday, the Rodger family’s attorney 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,” he said.
In a statement, the university said it was “shocked and saddened” that several students were shot.
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.
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