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Isla Vista suspect 'pushed everyone away,' neighbor says

UC Santa Barbara
Neighbor of Isla Vista suspect talks about Elliot Rodger

A neighbor who lived in the same Isla Vista apartment complex as rampage suspect Elliot Rodger said the 22-year-old was often withdrawn and seemed alienated.

Authorities say Rodger killed six UC Santa Barbara students Friday night before killing himself. In videos and a long printed statement, he spoke of committing a massacre in the college town.

The resident of Capri Apartments in Isla Vista said Rodger moved into the complex last summer. And although many members of the tight-knit community tried to make Rodger feel welcome, the resident said Rodger would spurn their offers to hang out.
 
“We reached out all the time to him to get him to party with us,” said the resident, who asked not to be identified to protect his privacy. The few times Rodger would hang out in the communal courtyard, “he just sat in the chair and stared at everyone the entire time,” the neighbor said.

At least a month ago, the neighbor was himself sitting in the courtyard around 9:30 p.m. when Rodger arrived with “his face all bashed in, his knuckles cut up,” crying, the neighbor said.

The 22-year-old asked what happened and Rodger initially rebuffed him. But after the pair talked some more, the neighbor pressed the issue, and when Rodger calmed down, he eventually admitted to having been jumped by multiple men.

Rodger was upset, the neighbor said, and told him: “I’m going to kill them, and kill myself.”

“I didn’t know if he was serious or not,” the neighbor said of Rodger. So they kept talking for about three hours, and by the end, the neighbor said Rodger was smiling and laughing and making jokes. Rodger eventually calmed down, thanked him and went inside.

Since then, the neighbor said he had seen Rodger four or five times walking to and from his BMW from his apartment, No. 7.

They would exchange friendly hellos and goodbyes, the neighbor said. But when he heard about what happened Friday and saw the video, “it all just clicked.”

“Every time I saw him, I tried to reach out to him,” the neighbor said. “He pushed everyone away."

Rodger left videos in which he details his plans and talks about feeling alienated and enraged.

“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 in one video. “Yes, after I have annihilated every single girl in the sorority house I'll take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there."

He also outlined his intentions to kill in a 137-page document that he sent Friday night, shortly before the killings, to someone he knew from an online bodybuilding forum.

Rodger was named by authorities as the suspect in Friday’s homicidal rampage that left seven people dead, including Rodger. He said in a video posted the day the shots were fired: “I will be a god compared to you. You will all be animals. You are animals, and I will slaughter you like animals. I hate all of you. Humanity is a disgusting, wretched, depraved species.… I'll be a god exacting my retribution on all those who deserve it and you do deserve it just for the crime of living a better life than me.”

The videos, with titles such as “Life is so unfair because girls don’t want me” and  “Balcony Vlog, reminiscing about Childhood,” show a bitter young man who struggled with adolescence and tried hard to fit in at college. He said he considered himself better than others and should not be rejected by women. 

“I’m such a magnificent guy. I’m beautiful, you can’t deny that…. I’m civilized, intelligent, sophisticated. I have a sense of style, yet you girls don’t see it,” said Rodger, who law enforcement officials said was a student at Santa Barbara City College.

“Whenever I drive through this college town called Isla Vista, which is just right next to UCSB, I see so many hot beautiful blond girls walking with absolute, stupid obnoxious-looking [men]. And I can’t help but think how wrong that is. Those beautiful blond girls should be walking with me, not those brutes.”

Filming mostly from the driver’s seat of a car, Rodger talks about how rejection from women has formed his world view: “This world is so twisted. It’s so cruel. And you girls make it cruel. And you girls have starved me of sex, and enjoyment and pleasure for my entire youth. You’ve taken eight years away from my life. Eight years I will never get back. Do you know how much misery you’ve caused me?”

stephen.ceasar@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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