Attorney: Family suspects son in shootings

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON and JULIE WATSON
Associated Press, May 24, 2014

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — The family of a man they believe went on a shooting rampage near a Santa Barbara, California, university called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos “regarding suicide and the killing of people,” a lawyer said Saturday.

Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human,” family attorney Alan Shifman said.

Shifman added that 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.

Shifman is the attorney for Peter Rodger, who was one of the assistant directors on “The Hunger Games.” Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the shooter.

Police said a gunman driving a BMW near the university campus went on a rampage that left seven people dead, including the shooter. Authorities described the tragedy as “obviously the work of a mad man.”

Mass Shooting Suspect Posted Disturbing Video Before Allegedly Killing 6, Injuring 7 Near UCSB

Seven people remain hospitalized with gunshot wounds or other
injuries, including one who has undergone surgery, following the
shooting spree Friday night in the beachside community of Isla Vista,
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

The
gunman got into two gun battles before crashing his black BMW into a
parked car. Deputies found the lone suspect dead with a gunshot wound to
the head, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether he was killed by
gunfire or if he committed suicide, Brown said.

A
semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the scene near the University
of California, Santa Barbara. Investigators know the gunman’s name, but
Brown said he couldn’t release it pending notification of relatives.

Describing the atrocity as “premeditated mass murder,” Brown said, authorities were analyzing a disturbing YouTube video posted that shows a young man describing plans to shoot women that appears to be connected to the attack.

Officials would not say whether the person in the video was a suspect in the shooting.

“It’s obviously the work of a mad man,” Brown said.

Map locates Isla Vista, California shooting

In the video, posted Friday, the man sits in a black car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity. He 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. The identity of the person in the video could not be independently confirmed.

The shootings started around 9:30 p.m. in Isla Vista, a roughly half-square mile community next to UC Santa Barbara’s campus and picturesque beachside cliffs.

Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson, was walking out of an improv comedy show when he was shot in front of a popular pizza place. He 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 when they heard the barrage of gunfire.

“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 shootings occurred at several sites, resulting in nine crime scenes, police said.

A visibly shaken student told the station she was approached by the driver of a black BMW who flashed a handgun and asked “Hey, what’s up?” The student, who didn’t provide her full name, said she thought he was carrying an airsoft gun and kept walking. She said seconds later, she felt something buzz by her head and quickly realized they were bullets.

Kathrin Schirazi Rad got a call from her 21-year-old son, Adrian Timothy Petersson, who told her in a shaky voice that he had been knocked off his skateboard by a BMW being chased by police about 9 p.m. Friday. He hurt his shoulder, but he went home after being checked by first responders to the scene.

“He was in shock,” said Rad, who lives in Sweden. “He saw some plastic bags and said somebody must have died. He couldn’t confirm anything. He was pretty shaken up. It was so many things happening at the same time.”

This photo shows the windshield of a car that was shattered by a bullet at the scene of a shooting on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif. A drive-by shooter went on a rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and others wounded, authorities said Saturday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The victims’ identities were not immediately released.

In a statement, the University of California, Santa Barbara said it’s “shocked and saddened” by the shootings. The university said several students were shot and taken to the hospital.

No deputies were injured or shot. Brown called it a “heartbreaking situation for a community next to a world-class university.”

Isla Vista has a reputation for excessive partying. Last month, an annual spring bash spiraled into violence as young people clashed with police and tossed rocks and bottles. A university police officer and four deputies were injured and 130 people were arrested.

Caption: Markers are placed at the scene of a shooting on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif. A drive-by shooter went on a rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and others wounded, authorities said Saturday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The community has experienced other tragedies in the past.

In 2001, the son of “Ally McBeal” TV director Daniel Attias ran down four pedestrians with his car on a crowded Isla Vista street. Witnesses testified that part-time college student David Attias got of the car and shouted: “I am the angel of death.”

David Attias was ruled insane after he was convicted of second-degree murder and is locked up in a state mental hospital.

_____

Dillon reported from Goleta, California, and Watson reported from San Diego.

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