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US gunman identified, is Hollywood director's son

Updated: 05/24/2014 9:45 PM
Created: 05/24/2014 5:15 PM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press

A California gunman who went on a rampage stabbed three people to death at his apartment before shooting to death three more elsewhere, sheriff's officials said Saturday.


The three people in the apartment were among the six left dead Friday night during the shootings near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Elliot Rodger, 22, the gunman, apparently killed himself, authorities said.


Sheriff Bill Brown called it a "chaotic, rapidly unfolding convoluted incident" that involved multiple crime scenes. Seven people remained hospitalized with serious injuries.


Police described how the gunman went from one location to another, opening fire on random people and exchanging gunfire with law enforcement, before he crashed his BMW. Brown said the gunman had three legally purchased guns and more than 400 rounds of unspent ammunition in his car.


The gunfire continued for 10 minutes as the gunman made his way through the beach community in a rampage that mirrored threats made on a YouTube video posted the same night, authorities said.


Investigators were analyzing the video in which a young man who identifies himself as Elliot Rodger sits in a car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity.


"It's obviously the work of a madman," Brown said.


Earlier Saturday, Alan Shifman - a lawyer who represents Peter Rodger, one of the assistant directors on "The Hunger Games" - issued a statement saying his client believed his son, Elliot Rodger, was the shooter. It was unclear how the son would have obtained a gun. The family is staunchly against guns, he added.


"The Rodger family offers their deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy. We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain, and our hearts go out to everybody involved," Shifman said.


Richard Martinez said his son Christopher Martinez, 20, was killed. He blamed politicians and gun-rights proponents. "When will this insanity stop? ... Too many have died. We should say to ourselves, 'Not one more,'" he said.


Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson was walking out of a comedy show when he was shot and stumbled into a nearby house.


"He walked into these random guys' house bleeding," he said.


Mattera was sitting at a bonfire with friends when at least one gunshot whizzed overhead. The friends ran for cover.

"We heard so many gunshots. It was unbelievable. I thought they were firecrackers. There had to have been at least like two guns. There were a lot of shots," he said.


The gunman got into two gun battles before crashing his black BMW into a parked car.


Describing the shootings as "premeditated mass murder," Brown said a YouTube video posted Friday that shows a young man describing plans to shoot women appears to be connected to the attack.


The young man describes loneliness and frustration because "girls have never been attracted to me," and says, at age 22, he is still a virgin. The video, which is almost seven minutes long, appears scripted.


Shifman, the attorney for the Rodger family, said the family called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people" that Elliot Rodger had been posting.


Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human," he added. Police did not find a history of guns, but did say Rodger "didn't have a lot of friends," had trouble making friends and didn't have any girlfriends.


Blood was still visible on the street Saturday. The wrecked BMW remained, its windshield smashed in and its driver's door wide open.


"This is almost the kind of event that's impossible to prevent and almost impossible to predict," University of California President Janet Napolitano, the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, told reporters.


The Rodger family is not ready to speak publicly yet, but wants to cooperate fully with police, public agencies and "any other person who feels that they need to help prevent these situations from ever occurring again," Shifman said.


"My client's mission in life will be to try to prevent any such tragedies from ever happening again," he said. "This country, this world, needs to address mental illness and the ramifications from not recognizing these illnesses."


Shifman said the family is "staunchly against guns" and supports gun-control laws. "They are extremely, extremely upset that anybody was hurt under these circumstances," he said.





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