Rampage mirrors threats made on YouTube video

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — The gunman fired for 10 minutes in
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 shooter.
A Hollywood director believes his
son, Elliot Rodger, was the lone gunman found dead behind the wheel of
the BMW that crashed into a parked car, ending the shootings Friday
night in 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 who identifies himself as Elliot
Rodger 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 saying his client
believes 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 Martinez, 20, was killed in the shooting. "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. 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.
The man in the video
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, 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 Mart 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."
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.
_____
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.
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