The father of the 22-year-old who authorities say killed six people and injured 13 others near the UC Santa Barbara campus five weeks ago says that he never believed his son was capable of such an atrocity, but that his son was very mentally ill.
During an interview with Barbara Walters that aired Friday night on ABC, Peter Rodger said his son, Elliot, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound May 23 to end the massacre, was not evil but he was very sick.
“Something happened to him. He was the most beautiful, kind, sweetheart of a boy. And something happened to him,” Rodger said.
Hours before the shooting, Elliot emailed his father his 137-page manifesto titled “My Twisted World.” Shortly thereafter, Rodger watched a YouTube video his son made in which he said he would have his retribution for girls not being sexually attracted him.
“A really dark force of horrible energy hit me,” Rodger told Walters.
He and other members of the family jumped into their cars and rushed to his son’s apartment while frantically calling his cellphone, but had no success, he said. It was already too late. Elliot had carried out his plans and was dead.
His son hid his pain well, but never did Rodger suspect such deadly rage was building, he said.
There were, however, major signs something was wrong. Elliot’s mother even called authorities to check on him at his apartment when she found one of his YouTube videos.
Satisfied Elliot was OK, authorities left his apartment without checking for guns.
Elliot said in one of his videos that all of his plans “would have been foiled” had authorities found the guns during their check. His father said he agrees.
Now, Rodger wants a law on the books to address similar situations.
“If they did do a gun check, they would know that Elliot had bought three automatic weapons,” he said. “They would have the right to seize him for 24 hours, and his whole scheme would’ve been over and thwarted.”
Rodger said he tried to do the best he could as a father, but his best was not good enough.
In an open letter, first given to ABC News, Rodger said: “My duty now is to do as much as I can to try and stop this from happening again. Too many lives are being lost.”
Rodger said in the letter that he has created a website, AskForHelp.org, where visitors can find resources for mental illness.
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