California drive-by shootings: Elliot Rodger kills six near Santa Barbara university
‘Hunger Games’ director’s son, 22, pledged ‘utter annihilation to those with a better life’
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Saturday 24 May 2014
A British-born man carried out a terrifying drive-by shooting spree in the town of Isla Vista in southern California on Friday night, hours after promising “retribution” against women in a YouTube post.
Elliot Rodger was the son of filmmaker Peter Rodger, the second unit director for 2012 blockbuster The Hunger Games; and the grandson of George Rodger, a celebrated British photojournalist and co-founder of the Magnum Photos agency.
Seven people were killed, including the gunman, in Friday’s shootings. Police later confirmed that three male roommates had also been stabbed to death at Rodger’s apartment before the attack.
On Saturday Rodger’s father confirmed, via his lawyer, Alan Schifman, that he believed his son was the shooter. The 22-year-old wrote on his blog that he was born in the UK but moved to the US when he was five. He lived in Calabasas, a wealthy Los Angeles suburb, but was studying at Santa Barbara City College, close to Isla Vista.
Warning: Some viewers may find the following video disturbing
Mr Schifman said Rodger had been diagnosed as a high-functioning patient with Asperger syndrome, and had been bullied throughout his life. His parents had recently reported a series of disturbing YouTube videos made by their son to police, who had interviewed Rodger and found him “polite and kind”.
Police are now investigating Rodger’s final video, entitled “Elliot Rodger’s retribution”, which was posted to YouTube on Friday and widely circulated after the shootings. In the recording, Rodger sat in his car, looking into the camera and laughing as he promised a “day of retribution”. He said, despite attending university for more than two and a half years, he was still a virgin.
“I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me,” he said. Women, he claimed, would throw themselves at “obnoxious brutes”, while rejecting him, “the supreme gentleman”.
He went on: “You forced me to suffer... now I’ll make you all suffer… I can’t wait to give you exactly what you deserve. Utter annihilation.”
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the shootings, which began around 9.30pm local time, were a “premeditated mass murder” and “the work of a madman”.
A student from the University of California, Santa Barbara told news station KEYT-TV that the driver of a black BMW had approached her and brandished a handgun, asking “Hey, what’s up?”, before opening fire.
The gunman became involved in a firefight with police before crashing into a parked car. He was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head, which police later said was likely self-inflicted.
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