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Elliot Rodger videos: Police admit being warned about killer's YouTube channel but not watching it

Rodger's parents say they are living in 'a hell on earth' in an emotional statement as it emerged police chose not to watch his YouTube videos

Sheriff's deputies and police were warned about the sinister videos posted online by British-born gunman Elliot Rodger but chose not to watch them, authorities have disclosed.

In a statement, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said it was contacted by a mental health hotline and a therapist over their concerns about the disturbing videos.

Four deputies and a police officer were dispatched to the 22-year-old’s apartment, where Rodger’s was questioned for ten minutes.

During the interview, Rodger explained he was struggling to fit in socially in Isla Vista and told police the videos were a way for him to express himself.

They then briefed Rodger's mother by phone and instructed him to speak with his parents as well. Police found him to be shy, timid and polite.

This new sequence of events contradicts a statement on Sunday from spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, who said "the sheriff's office was not aware of any videos until after the shooting rampage occurred."

"Sheriff's deputies concluded that Rodger was not an immediate threat to himself or others, and that they did not have cause to place him on an involuntary mental health hold, or to enter or search his residence," the sheriff's office has since said.

"Therefore, they did not view the videos or conduct a weapons check on Rodger."

Rodger then reposted some of the videos before his killing spree, where he stabbed and shot six people and injured thirteen before turning the gun on himself.

He also published manifestos and other videos online, where he vowed to "slay" as many sorority girls as he could and claimed women had rejected him socially and sexually.

Rodger’s parents Peter Rodger and Li Chin released an emotional statement on Thursday and described living in a “hell on earth” following their son’s murderous rampage.

In a statement read out by their family friend Simon Astaire on NBC Today, they said: “We are crying in pain for the victims and their families. It breaks out hearts on a level that we didn’t think possible. The feeling of knowing that it was our son’s actions that caused the tragedy can only be described as hell on earth.

"It is now our responsibility to do everything we can to help avoid this happening to any other family. Not only to avoid more innocence destroyed, but also to identify and deal with the mental issues that drove our son to do what he did.”

Mr Rodger and Ms Chin had rushed to the scene to stop their son after he emailed a 141-page manifesto detailing his plans to some 30 people including his mother, father and former teachers.

But it was too late – Ms Rodger heard radio reports about the shootings as she drove and police in Santa Barbara told the pair their son was believed to be the gunman.

The family have still not found the strength to read their son's manifesto, Mr Astaire said.