|An image of Rodger from a video posted on YouTube. (AP)
Isla Vista, California, May 25: A college student who killed six persons on Friday night had posted videos that documented his rage against women for rejecting him, police said. He stabbed three men to death in his apartment and shot the others as he methodically opened fire on bystanders on the crowded streets of this small town.
The gunman, identified by the police as Elliot O. Rodger, 22, was found dead with a bullet wound to his head.
The police said he had apparently taken his own life. Three semi-automatic handguns, along with 41 loaded 10-round magazines — all bought legally at local gun stores — were found in his car.
Barely 24 hours before the killing spree, Rodger, a student at Santa Barbara City College, had posted a video on YouTube in which he sat behind the steering wheel of his black BMW and for seven minutes recounted the isolation and sexual frustrations of his life, pausing for an occasional self-mocking laugh.
He spoke of the women who rejected him, the happiness he saw around him, and his life as a virgin at the age of 22. He called his message “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” and said it was the last video he would post.
“I do not know why you girls aren’t attracted to me,” he said, “But I will punish you all for it.”
On Friday, at 9.27pm, the police said Rodger started what turned out to be the second part of his revenge, which began shortly after he left his apartment, the first of the 12 crime scenes along his route.
Witnesses said they saw three body bags being taken out from the apartment complex; the police said all three victims had been stabbed multiple times.
In addition to the video, Rodger had prepared a 141-page manifesto laying out his plan for the killings.
“We have obtained and are analysing written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder,” Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County said.
In his manifesto, which he called “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger,” Rodger said the police had visited his apartment in April, acting on the complaints of his mother, who was alarmed by videos he had posted online. He said he had managed to convince the police that there was nothing to worry about, and quickly took down the videos — posting them again in the days before what he called his “Day of Retribution.”
The sheriff acknowledged that deputies had visited Rodger’s apartment on April 30, but said he had appeared courteous and polite and did not meet the conditions that would have permitted them to confine him.
In his videos, a blog, his Facebook and the manifesto, Rodger portrayed himself as a loner in a perpetually sunny college town on the California coast. He spoke of going to beaches and watching with rage as couples held hands or kissed and of escaping to serenity on the local golf course because he knew, he said, he would not see a couple there.
His father, Peter Rodger, who is British and lives in Los Angeles, has written screenplays and was the second unit director on the film The Hunger Games. His son boasted, on his Google+ page, of attending the world premiere of that and other films.
The family, through a lawyer, issued a statement expressing their sympathy for the victims. “We offer our deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy,” said the statement, read by lawyer Alan Shifman.
Rodger was, from a young age, emotionally disturbed, particularly since the divorce of his parents when he was in first grade, family friends said. Patrick Connors, 23, a former classmate at Crespi Carmelite High School, a Catholic school for boys in Los Angeles, said Rodger had left school before graduation. He said Rodger was treated by his classmates as an oddball and that students mocked him; once when Rodger fell asleep in his seat, classmates taped his head to his desk, he said.
“We said right from the get-go that that kid was going to lose it someday and just freak out,” he said.
The six persons killed, as well as Rodger, were declared dead at crime scenes scattered across the grid of streets he travelled.
The identities of the victims were slowly emerging, some in distraught posts on Facebook by devastated parents. “Veronika Weiss. 1995-2014. Innocent victim of the Goleta shooting rampage last night,” read a post by Bob Weiss. Another was Katie Cooper, whose death was confirmed by her mother Kelli in a telephone conversation before she broke down.
The father of Christopher Michael-Martinez, a man killed at the IV Deli Mart on Pardall Road, a Friday night gathering spot, offered a wrenching denunciation of gun advocates and policies that he said lead to the death of his child.
“This death has left our family lost and broken,” said Richard Martinez. “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live? When will this insanity stop?”