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Local News

Outside Agency Will Conduct Independent Review of Isla Vista Shootings, Sheriff Says

After his office issued a statement that deputies who responded to the Isla Vista shootings had been cleared to return to duty, Sheriff Bill Brown told county supervisors that an outside agency will be reviewing the incident.

On Tuesday morning, Brown told supervisors that the internal investigation of the event will be finalized in the next several weeks, and the National Police Foundation offered to review the incident independently "to learn valuable lessons from our experience."

The foundation offered to do an independent review, free of charge, as a learning tool for law enforcement, Sgt. Mark Williams said. Another group did an independent review of the 2006 shooting at a U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Goleta, he said.

Santa Barbara County's District Attorney's Office will also be reviewing the officer-involved shootings to determine whether they were legally justified. 

The four Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies who fired their weapons as they responded to a rampage last month that left seven people dead, including the shooter, have been returned to duty from administrative leave, the department confirmed on Monday.

The shooter, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, fired more than 50 rounds of ammunition, changing magazines five times, before he apparently took his own life, Brown told supervisors. 

Since the incident, "there has been much Monday morning quarterbacking," Brown said, with people pointing out what could have been done differently, spanning from topics like gun control to training of law enforcement.

All these questions are legitimate, Brown said, adding that he hopes the dialogue will lead to the prevention of future incidents.

However, Rodger's journey from innocence to rage "was a long and complicated one," he said.

"In a free society, we constantly have to balance public safety and individual liberty."

Rodger was adept at convincing people that he was stable and capable of caring for himself, Brown added.

Brown said there will be ongoing work with state and federal legislators to craft legislation for crisis response and gun violence restraining orders to keep weapons out of the hands of mentally ill people.

He also plans to partner with the county's Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Programs as implement more crisis response and triage teams with recently-obtained grant money.

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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