Isla Vista shooting suspect targeted sorority, neighbors, strangers
The Santa Barbara County sheriff says the dead in the Isla Vista neighborhood rampage include the suspected attacker, who was driving a black BMW.
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials offered the most detailed description yet of the violent rampage in Isla Vista on Friday night, saying the suspect methodically killed at three separate locations near UC Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bob Brown confirmed the suspect was Elliot Rodger, a Santa Barbara City College student and son of a film director. Brown says Rodger, 22, killed six people before taking his own life.
The narrative of the violence described by authorities shares striking similarities to a 140-page statement Rodger wrote in which he described plans to kill people.
Brown said deputies had three earlier dealings with Rodger, including a welfare check last month after family members called expressing concern about his health. The deputies said Rodger seemed to be fine and did not take any action.
Authorities said Rodger allegedly began his rampage by fatally stabbing three roommates at his apartment complex.
Officials said Rodger then went to a sorority house a few blocks away and opened fire on three women nearby, fatally wounding two of them.
Rodger’s next stop, said Brown, was a local deli, where he fatally shot a UC Santa Barbara student inside.
The suspect them drove his BMW, opening fire on pedestrians and others on the street, Brown said. He then got into a gun battle with deputies. Apparently wounded, he continued to drive. Authorities found him dead of a gunshot wound to the head that appeared to be self-inflicted.
They found three guns, and all were legally purchased and registered to him.
In his statement, Rodger described his anger and alienation.
“On the day before the Day of Retribution, I will start the First Phase of my vengeance: Silently killing as many people as I can around Isla Vista by luring them into my apartment through some form of trickery,” he wrote.
“All of my suffering on this world has been at the hands of humanity, particularly women, it has made me realize just how brutal and twisted humanity is as a species,” he wrote. His life “is a dark story of sadness, anger and hatred. It is a story of war against cruel injustice.”
He also vows violence. “On the day before the Day of Retribution, I will start the First Phase of my vengeance: Silently killing as many people as I can around Isla Vista by luring them into my apartment through some form of trickery,” he wrote.
The narrative of the violence described by authorities share striking similarities to the document.
He outlined detailed plans for killing his roommates then attack attacking a sorority in what he described as his “war on women.”
“I will attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender: The hottest sorority of UCSB,” he wrote.
The manifesto, which was first reported by Channel 3 in Santa Barbara, appears to be similar to YouTube videos Rodger made.
One of Rodger’s parents called a law enforcement agency last month, warning them about disturbing videos he was posting online, according to a source close to the family. It was unclear which videos they saw.
In the last video posted on Friday night and titled “Elliot Rodger’s retribution,” Rodger described his anger toward women and men.
“I’m 22 years old and still a virgin, never even kissed a girl. And through college, 2 1/2 years, more than that actually, I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous,” he said. “The popular kids, you never accepted me and now you will all pay for it. Girls, all I ever wanted was to love you, be loved by you. I wanted a girlfriend. I wanted sex, love, affection, adoration.”
“”You forced me to suffer all my life, now I will make you all suffer,” he said. “All you girls who rejected me, looked down upon me, you know, treated me like scum while you gave yourselves to other men. And all of you men for living a better life than me, all of you sexually active men. I hate you. I hate all of you. I can’t wait to give you exactly what you deserve, annihilation.”
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials, who have not identified the man suspected of shooting and running people down with his BMW, said they believe the rampage was premeditated. However a law enforcement source told The Times that Elliott Rodger is the suspected gunman.
Authorities and witnesses said the shooting began about 9:30 p.m. in a densely packed, student-dominated community along the coast. They said there were at least nine crime scenes connected to the shooting.
At the IV Deli Market, in the 6500 block of Pardell Road, Lyssa Hopper, a 19-year-old student, was buying some Gatorade and soda. As she was purchasing the items she heard what she said were multiple gunshots.
Then, she said, she saw glass flying and dropped to the ground. When she looked up, she saw a male on the ground by the door in a pool of blood.
“He was slumped over, and he was bleeding,” Hopper said.
Hopper said she knew the victim, who she identified as Chris Martinez, a second-year student at UC Santa Barbara. She said she tried to help administer CPR but was so upset that she was unable to render aid until paramedics arrived.
She said, though tears, that Martinez was among the dead.
Nearby on the same block, Manny Rodriguez, 57, was delivering sandwiches in Isla Vista for Sam’s To Go when a girl ran out of the deli screaming.
“The guy unloaded a full clip, a nine clip,” Rodriguez said. “He was shooting fast.”
The windows of the shooter’s BMW were so tinted that Rodriguez said he couldn’t see the flash of the shots being fired from inside the car. He said the attacker was shooting out the passenger window as he drove down the street.
Yet a few blocks farther south on what is known as the loop, Kevin de Bree, a fourth-year history major, said he was heading to a 7-Eleven when he heard shots.
He continued walking, and by the time he got to the Little Acorn Park across the street from the 7-Eleven, he saw a black BMW pull up to the store. It looked like someone was leaning out of the car, and there was such chaos that De Bree at first thought there must’ve been two people in the BMW.
“I heard shots, I heard people scream, I realized this was actually gunfire.” De Bree said he ran back into the park.
From the park, about 100 feet away, he saw the scene unfold at the 7-Eleven.
“I saw a few people collapse, a few people run, a few go in the store. It was chaos. There were a bunch of people on the street corner like me, and we were all running away,” De Bree said. He later heard that one woman had been shot in the leg at the 7-Eleven. But at the time, he couldn’t see or process anything clearly.
At first, the gunshots sounded like they were coming from a handgun – there were a lot of “loud bangs,” De Bree said. “But later, I distinctly remembering thinking ‘that was definitely an automatic weapon.‘ I heard like 20 shots in a row.”
“It sounded like I was in a war zone,” he said. “It definitely sounded like the shooter was exchanging fire with someone … it was intense.”
About a block south of the 7-Eleven, E.J. Debowski was standing on his porch in the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde Road. Dakota Waterworth, a third-year university student, was in his house, changing after a shower on the same block.
Waterworth heard a crash, ran outside, and then heard a cyclist yelling, “Call the police! He hit me on purpose!”
The cyclist had abandoned his bike and fallen into a car across the street. Meanwhile, the suspect’s black BMW was speeding to the end of the residential block, Waterworth said.
From the middle of the road, the car veered right, forcing one person to jump out of the way. Another young man on a skateboard was nicked by the car, Waterworth said.
“It’s clear he’s intentionally trying to hunt someone,” Waterworth said of the driver.
Debowski was looking at the skateboarder coming down the street when the car behind him sped up to what Debowski estimated was 45 mph. The car struck the skateboarder, identified as Elliot Gee, a junior.
“His skateboard flew in the air,” Debowski said. “His face was bloody, but he was able to respond to our questions.”
Gee was able to limp to a wood fence and lean on it. Waterworth, a friend of Gee, said he suffered only minor injuries, including a lost tooth.
As the car approached the end of the block, the BMW slowed down, Waterworth said, perhaps so the gunman could reload. Then the car continued down Sabado Tarde, and Waterworth estimated that between 20 and 30 shots rang out in a matter of seconds.
Waterworth said the car then turned right down Embarcadero del Norte and eventually crashed.
Meanwhile Waterworth was attending to the skateboarder, when a long-haired young man wearing board shorts and carrying a bloodied white shirt over his shoulder came walking by covered in blood and crying. “A girl died tonight,” the young man said.
Outside a two-story apartment building on Del Playa Drive where the BMW crashed, a group of residents emerged from their homes Saturday morning to watch a tow truck pull the BMW away.
Jahangir Siddiqui, a senior originally from San Diego, said that at about 10 p.m. Friday night, “we heard some gunshots in the distance. About a minute later, the scene came here.”
Then he heard a crash, and about 30 gunshots in total.
From the window of his second-floor apartment, Siddiqui saw that the front right tire of the crashed BMW was on fire. There was a huge hole in the windshield, he said, and there was a mangled bike about 100 yards away, but he didn’t see anybody on the bike.
At first, one officer ran up to the car with his weapon drawn. But within a minute, there were four or five patrol cars and a dozen officers there, Siddiqui said. There were people on the streets scattered and running right after the crash.
Siddiqui saw the suspect in the car, looking “bloodied, his body looked limp.”
He said it was unclear if the suspect was still alive or unconscious at that moment. Eventually, authorities dragged the body out of the car. They laid the body on the street and covered it with a yellow tarp.
Times staff writers Matt Stevens, Rosanna Xia, Rong-Gong Lin II, Richard Winton and Stephen Ceasar in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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