While Elliot Rodger’s shooting rampage through the streets of Isla Vista has been thoroughly chronicled over the last few days, some unanswered questions remain about the deadly incident.
One of the most widely asked is when the three young men found dead in Rodger’s Seville Road apartment were actually killed.
Many observers wonder how Rodger, 22, could have overpowered and stabbed to death three college-age men without causing some sort of struggle or commotion, or at least one of them escaping.
Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, and George Chen, 19, both of San Jose, and Weihan Wang, 20, of Fremont, were found dead inside the unit at the Capri Apartments where Rodger lived, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.
All three suffered multiple stab wounds.
Chen, Hong and Rodger were all listed on the lease for the apartment, but sheriff’s officials were still trying to determine why Wang was there, Brown said Monday.
The timing and circumstance of their deaths remained under investigation, he said, declining to elaborate.
However, the lengthy diatribe Rodger emailed to several people shortly before he began his murderous rampage offers a possible answer to when the three were killed.
The document, which tells Rodger’s life story — and outlines his extreme anger and frustration at women he claimed rebuffed his attentions and the men they chose instead — includes details of his plans to “slaughter” as many people as possible during his “day of retribution.”
“I would have to kill my housemates to get them out of the way,” he wrote. “If they were pleasant to live with, I would regret having to kill them, but due to their behavior, I now had no regrets about such prospects. In fact, I’d even enjoy stabbing them both to death while they slept.”
Rodger further explained that he planned “to secure the entire apartment for myself as my personal torture and killing chamber” so he could lure people there to kill them.
Under that scenario, Hong, Chen and Wang likely were murdered overnight Thursday, many hours before Rodger took to the streets in his BMW coupe, armed with three semi-automatic handguns and a plan to cause as much carnage as possible.
Early Saturday, several hours after Rodger fatally shot three people and injured 13 others, Brown announced that there were seven fatalities in all, including Rodger.
At the time, he would not disclose where the other three victims were killed.
It wasn’t until Saturday evening that Brown released that information, along with other details of Rodger’s rampage.
The other three victims were Katherine Breann “Katie” Cooper, 22, of Chino Hills; Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, of Los Osos; and Veronika Elizabeth Weiss, 19, of Westlake Village. All six were UC Santa Barbara students.
Additional details on the deaths of Chen, Hong and Wang were pending autopsy results, Brown said, and likely would not be released for several days.
Another question that has been raised is when Rodger’s parents, who are divorced, became aware of his deadly plans, and when they alerted authorities.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Rodger’s mother, Chin Rodger of West Hills in the San Fernando Valley, was contacted by one of her son’s therapists about an email he had sent out that included the 141-page “manifesto.”
Chin Rodger then alerted her ex-husband, Peter Rodger of Woodland Hills, the Times reported, and the two then raced up Highway 101 toward Isla Vista.
There have been reports that Chin Rodger called 9-1-1 to alert authorities about the details of her son’s plan, but that has not been confirmed.
Brown said Monday that investigators are reviewing 9-1-1 calls to see whether sheriff’s dispatchers received such a call.
The email, he noted, was sent out at 9:17 p.m., just minutes before the shooting began.
Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood said a 9-1-1 call from a Los Angeles mental-health professional was received by his department at 10:11 p.m., nearly 30 minutes after Rodger’s rampage had ended when he apparently shot himself to death.
Brown said he expected more details — including a more specific timeline — to be released in the coming week.