Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Suspect in California rampage blamed aloof women; police never saw video
First Published May 25 2014 10:07 am • Last Updated May 25 2014 06:31 pm

Goleta, Calif. • Sheriff’s deputies who showed up at Elliot Rodger’s doorstep last month to check on his mental health hadn’t seen online videos in which he threatens suicide and violence even though those recordings were what prompted his parents to call authorities.

By the time law enforcement did see the videos, it was too late: The well-mannered if shy young man that deputies concluded after their visit posed no risk had gone on a deadly rampage on Friday.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The sheriff’s office "was not aware of any videos until after the shooting rampage occurred," Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

Sheriff Bill Brown has defended the officers’ actions, but the case highlights the challenges that police face in assessing the mental health of adults, particularly those with no history of violent breakdowns, institutionalizations or serious crimes.

"Obviously, looking back on this, it’s a very tragic situation and we certainly wish that we could turn the clock back and maybe change some things," Brown told CBS’ "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"At the time deputies interacted with him, he was able to convince them that he was OK," he said.

It’s not clear why the sheriffs did not become aware of the videos. Attorney Alan Shifman said the Rodger family had called police after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people" that their son had been posting.

Doris A. Fuller, executive director of the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, said California law has provisions that permit emergency psychiatric evaluations of individuals who pose a serious threat, but that was never triggered.

Rodger’s family has disclosed their son was under the care of therapists.

"Once again, we are grieving over deaths and devastation caused by a young man who was sending up red flags for danger that failed to produce intervention in time to avert tragedy," Fuller said in a statement.


story continues below
story continues below

"In this case, the red flags were so big the killer’s parents had called police ... and yet the system failed," she said.

Rodger, writing in a manifesto, said he was relieved his apartment wasn’t searched because deputies would have uncovered the cache of weapons he used in the beach town rampage Friday in which he killed six people and then, authorities say, himself.

He posted at least 22 YouTube videos. He wrote in his manifesto that he uploaded most of his videos in the week leading up to April 26, when he originally planned to carry out his attacks. He postponed his plan after catching a cold.

Because many of the videos were removed from YouTube then re-added in the week leading up to the killings, it’s unclear which of the videos alarmed his family, or whether others were reported that were not uploaded again.

He voices his contempt for everyone from his roommates to the human race, reserving special hate for two groups: the women he says kept him a virgin for all of his 22 years and the men they chose instead.

At least two other people who saw Rodger’s videos before Friday compared him to a serial killer, through a message board on a bodybuilding website and the social network Reddit.

The rampage played out largely as he sketched it in public postings, including a YouTube video where he sits in the BMW in sunset light and appears to be acting out scripted lines and planned laughs.

"I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you," the son of a Hollywood director who worked on "The Hunger Games" says in the video posted Friday and taken down by YouTube Saturday with a message saying it violated the site’s terms of service.

Brown told CNN on Sunday that investigators are close to having a "pretty clear picture of what happened."

The first three killed Friday were male stabbing victims in Rodger’s own apartment whose names have not been released, Brown said Saturday. Then, at about 9:30 p.m., the shooting rampage began.

Deputies found three semi-automatic handguns along with 400 unspent rounds in his black BMW. All were purchased legally.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.