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DA Clears Deputies Who Fired Guns at Elliot Rodger During Isla Vista Massacre

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that law enforcement officers acted lawfully and in self defense when they exchanged gunfire with suspect Elliot Rodger during the Isla Vista massacre last year, and that none of their shots caused Rodger's death. 

Rodger was responsible for killing six UCSB students and injuring 14 more people in Isla Vista on May 23, 2014, before fatally shooting himself, according to a Sheriff's Department investigation report

Before his death, Rodger committed a series of drive-by shootings and struck people with his car as he drove through the streets of Isla Vista, and during this time, he engaged in two different gun battles with sheriff’s deputies.

On Tuesday, the DA’s office announced that it completed its review of the portion of the case that looked into the officer-involved shootings, which involved Santa Barbara Sheriff Sgt. Brad Welch, Det. Brian Flick and deputies Adrian Marquez and Dep. Jorden Walker. 

“We have concluded that Sergeant Welch, Detective Flick, and Deputies Marquez and Walker acted lawfully in self-defense, in defense of others, and in an attempt to arrest a dangerous felon, and that none of their shots caused Elliot Rodger’s death,” a statement from the office said.

The report stated that there were two separate officer involved shootings in the incident, one with Marquez at 6550 Del Playa around 9:32 p.m., when Rodger fired numerous rounds at Marquez, who fired a single shot and struck the vehicle's right side.

The second shooting involved Welch, Flick, Walker and Johnson at Little Acorn Park on Sabado Tarde and El Embarcadero. One shot grazed Rodger's hip, according to authorities.

The report outlines each official's actions as they responded to the scene, beginning with Marquez, who ran towards the sound of gunshots that night.

The report states that Marquez spotted a black BMW approaching him without its headlights on, and the driver began firing “numerous rounds” at Marquez, who fired one shot in return.

Marquez later heard a crash, and upon arriving on Del Playa Drive, saw the same vehicle, with Rodger inside, who appeared to be dead.

In a different area, Flick and other deputies were walking back to the Isla Vista Foot Patrol Station when the sound of gunfire was heard, according to the DA report.

Flick, Johnson and Walker ran through Little Acorn Park towards the sounds of gunshots.

The BMW was spotted, and Flick could “clearly see a gun held by the driver,” and fearing for his safety and others, and knowing that there had been other victims in Isla Vista, the detective fired approximately 12 rounds at the suspect, according to the DA report.

The driver continued driving southbound, shooting another victim, who Flick and Walker rendered aid to.

Welch was fired upon from approximately 15 feet away and returned about 11 rounds as the driver drove away.

Walker also fired nine rounds at the suspect as he drove, and helped render aid to a shooting victim with Flick.

An autopsy was done on Rodger, who had a through-and-through gunshot wound to his right temple and a grazing wound to his hip.

The gunshot wound to the head occurred at close range and the pathologist concluded that Rodger had died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

“Approximately one minute after the shooting in Little Acorn Park, the suspect vehicle crashed and the suspect shot himself in the head,” the report stated, adding that law enforcement acted lawfully in self-defense and in defense of others in the use of deadly force.

“Based upon the suspect’s actions, it is apparent had they not fired at the suspect, many more lives would have been lost. We are closing our file and will take no further action in this matter,” the report stated.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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