Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger had a calculated and evil plan when he set out Friday night to unleash a wave of mayhem and killing in Isla Vista, and likely would have caused more carnage had law-enforcement personnel not stopped him.
That was part of the message delivered Saturday afternoon by Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, who addressed a large contingent of journalists, many from around the country, during a news conference outside Sheriff’s Department headquarters.
“This was so diabolical and so premeditated, it was just awful,” Brown told Noozhawk.
He outlined a terrifying sequence of events that unfolded in the small, densely packed community west of UC Santa Barbara. When it was all over, seven people were dead — including Rodger — and 13 injured.
Most of the carnage occurred as Rodger, a 22-year-old, sometime Santa Barbara City College student from Woodland Hills, drove through Isla Vista in his late-model black BMW coupe, shooting passers-by with semi-automatic weapons.
According to videos he posted online and a lengthy “manifesto” reviewed by Noozhawk, Rodger was seeking revenge and retribution for what he perceived as an unending string of rejections and slights by women in the college community. [Noozhawk’s note: Scroll down the page for the document.]
Had deputies not stopped him, Brown said, more lives undoubtedly would have been lost, as Rodger had 400 more rounds of ammunition in his possession at the time he died.
The shooting rampage began shortly before 9:30 p.m. Friday, and stretched across several blocks in and around Isla Vista’s downtown loop.
Rodger was among the dead, most likely the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Brown said.
Flanking Brown at the news conference were SBCC President Lori Gaskin, county Supervisors Doreen Farr and Janet Wolf, and UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang, who did not speak despite a request from a reporter.
Brown gave a moment-by-moment account of the violent events for which Rodger, who had been living in Isla Vista, is believed responsible.
“This was a chaotic, rapidly unfolding and convoluted incident that involved multiple crime scenes,” he said.
Brown said Rodger was no stranger to sheriff’s deputies, and had had three previous contacts with law enforcement before the killing spree.
The first was last July at a local hospital, where Rodger claimed to have been the victim of an assault, Brown said. Information later came out indicating that he may have been the aggressor, however, and the case was suspended pending any additional leads.
Another incident, still more bizarre, happened earlier this year, when Rodger accused one of his roommates of stealing three candles — valued at $22 — and made a citizen’s arrest for petty theft.
The last contact deputies made with Rodger was on April 30, when they went to his residence following a request by a family member to check on his welfare.
“They found him to be polite and courteous,” Brown said. “He downplayed concerns for his welfare, and the deputies cleared the call.”
Rodger expressed difficulties with his social life, Brown said, but didn’t meet the criteria to being taken in on an involuntary psychiatric hold.
Brown explained that Friday night’s carnage was spread over 10 locations, with 12 separate crime scenes.
The violence began at Rodger’s residence at the Capri Apartments, 6598 Seville Road, where it appears he murdered three men prior to the shooting rampage, Brown said.
“The three male victims appeared to have been repeatedly stabbed,” he said.
That crime scene was still being processed Saturday, and because deputies were still working to identify and notify the victims’ next of kin, their names were not released.
The second location — the beginning of Friday’s shooting rampage — was at the Alpha Phi sorority house, in the 800 block of Embarcadero Del Norte.
Brown said several members of the sorority reported hearing aggravated knocking on the front door of the house for a couple of minutes.
“Fortunately, no one opened the door, and shortly after that, witnesses reported seeing three young women standing outside in the vicinity shot by the suspect from across the street,” he said.
Two of those women were killed — Katherine Breann “Katie” Cooper, 22, of Chino Hills, and Veronika Elizabeth Weiss, 19, of Westlake Village — both UCSB students who were members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
A third victim, whose name was not released, suffered multiple gunshot wounds, but survived.
After shooting the three women, Rodger allegedly drove to the Isla Vista Deli Mart in the 6500 block of Pardall Road, got out of his vehicle and entered the store, where he fatally shot Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, a 20-year-old UCSB student from Los Osos.
At that point, Rodger was spotted by Isla Vista Foot Patrol deputies fleeing eastbound in his BMW.
He continued toward the top of the loop on Embarcadero Del Norte, where he fired at multiple people on the sidewalk, before eventually turning east onto Del Playa Drive, and brandished a handgun at a woman.
After firing additional rounds, Brown said, Rodger turned his vehicle around and drove west on Del Playa.
A sheriff’s deputy responding to the area on foot was shot at by the suspect, who was armed with three semi-automatic handguns, and the deputy returned fire, Brown said.
In the 6600 block of Del Playa, he struck and injured a bicyclist with his car before continuing to Camino del Sur, where he fired multiple times at pedestrians, three of whom were hit.
On Sabado Tarde Road, Brown said, he shot another victim before coming into contact with four deputies running across the grass at Acorn Park.
Brown said Rodger fired at the deputies, but three of them were able to return fire, striking his vehicle and hitting the suspect in his left hip.
Rodger then drove back to Del Playa, where he accelerated to a high rate of speed and struck another bicyclist, he said.
“This victim was thrown onto the hood of the suspect’s vehicle and caved in the windshield,” he said.
The BMW then collided with several parked cars and came to a stop.
“Responding deputies removed the suspect from the car, handcuffed him, and he was obviously dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head,” Brown said. “It would appear as though he took his own life.”
Between those locations, four people were injured by Rodger’s vehicle and eight more were shot by him, he said, adding that another victim sustained a minor injury of unknown origin.
One weapon was purchased in Goleta, another in Oxnard and the third in Burbank, and Brown said they were all bought prior to Rodger’s interactions with the Sheriff’s Department.
In addition to weapons, he said, Rodger had 34 10-round magazines for the Sig Sauer pistols and seven 10-round magazines for the Glock.
Dr. Stephen Kaminski, director of trauma services at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, said four patients were treated and released at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital. Seven others were transported to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital trauma center, where they “remain in our care,” he said.
He said two were in good condition, three were in fair condition, and two patients were in serious condition.
Brown said investigators became aware of Rodger’s lengthy diatribe and videos soon after the killings, and he said they show “the severe extent to which Mr. Rodger was disturbed.”
Rodger was being seen by a variety of mental-health professionals, and “it’s very apparent he was severely mentally disturbed when you review that document,” Brown said.
He called the most recent video, posted just prior to the attack, “a particularly chilling one in which he basically looks at the camera and talks about what he is about to do.”
Brown commended sheriff’s deputies for their actions, calling them “resolute and heroic.”
They engaged Rodger, “a homicidal suspect, in two separate gun battles, and I have no doubt that had they not done that, there would have been further loss of life and further injury,” he said.
Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton contributed to this report.