Disturbing new details have been released in the premeditated mass murder Friday night in Isla Vista that claimed the lives of seven people, including the suspect’s. During a crowded press conference Saturday afternoon outside his headquarters, Sheriff Bill Brown explained that information previously released by authorities has been clarified and corrected as the investigation unfolds.
Brown confirmed that the suspect — who likely committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after a 10-minute rampage throughout the seaside college town — has been positively identified as 22-year-old Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger. A resident of Capri Apartments on the 6500 block of Seville Road in Isla Vista, Rodger fatally stabbed three unidentified men in his apartment before his shooting spree. No 9-1-1 calls were placed during the stabbings, and authorities only discovered the three victims’ bodies after the subsequent shootings and as they began to investigate Rodger’s involvement. Brown described the apartment as a “pretty horrific crime scene.”
Brown said the men’s names aren’t being released as officials work to notify their families. The three victims killed by Rodger’s gunfire around the Isla Visa loop area have been identified as 22-year-old Katie Cooper of Chino Hills; 19-year-old Veronika Weiss of Westlake Village; and 20-year-old Christopher Michaels-Martinez of Los Osos. All were UCSB students. Cooper and Weiss were both members of Delta Delta Delta sorority. Thirteen people were injured in Rodger’s rampage, Brown went on, eight by bullets, four by car when Rodger plowed into them, and one by unknown means. All are expected to make full recoveries.
Rodger was armed with three semiautomatic 9mm handguns as he drove around Isla Vista in his black BMW and sprayed bullets at people nearby. Two of the guns were SIG Sauer P226 pistols, and one was a Glock 34 Long Slide. All of the weapons were legally purchased from federally licensed firearm dealers and were registered to Rodger, Brown said. He bought one in Goleta, one in Oxnard, and one in Burbank. In addition to the guns, Rodger was in possession of 34 loaded 10-round magazines for the SIG Sauers and seven loaded 10-round magazine for the Glock.
Before the nightmarish scene unfolded on Friday, the Sheriff’s Office had three previous contacts with Rodger, Brown said. The first occurred on July 21, 2013, when an Isla Vista Foot Patrol Officer was called to the hospital to meet Rodger, who claimed to be the victim of an assault and was being treated for his injuries. As the officer was documenting the incident, he received information that Rodger was actually the aggressor in the confrontation. The case was suspended pending any additional leads, Brown explained.
On January 15, 2014, Rodger contacted the Sheriff’s Office to accuse his roommate of stealing three of his candles valued at $22. The roommate was charged with petty theft and cited and released at County Jail.
The third contact took place on April 30, 2014. One of Rodger’s relatives had requested that officials perform a welfare check on him at his apartment. When deputies arrived, they found Rodger to be “polite and courteous,” if not a little “timid and shy.” He spoke of difficulties in his social life and said he would likely not return to school the next semester. The deputies offered him options for support resources before clearing the call.
During the press conference, reporters asked if Brown felt his deputies may have erred in their assessment. “I’m not going to play Monday morning quarterback at this point,” Brown responded. “We’re still investigating this incident and exactly what happened in the interaction. But you need to understand that this is a fairly routine type of call.” Deputies are “well-trained and adept” at handling such an assignment, he went on. Brown said Rodger “was being seen by a variety of health care professionals” but declined to elaborate on when or for what reason. Brown did say, however, that an examination of the 141-page manifesto and video testimonials that Rodger published before his rampage provided clear indications that he was “severely mentally disturbed.”
Pointing to a map of Isla Vista marked with the locations of 10 different crime scenes, Brown walked the media through the chronology of violent events that began just before 9:30 p.m. After murdering the three men in his apartment on Seville Road, Rodger traveled to the Alpha Phi sorority house in the 800 block of Embarcadero Del Norte. In his last YouTube video posted the day before the killings, Rodger — after blaming rejections from women as the reason for his life of “loneliness” and “unfulfilled desires” — stated that, “On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB, and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see inside there.”
Brown said that several Alpha Phi members heard “loud and aggressive” knocking at the home’s front door that lasted for one-two minutes. No one opened the door, Brown said, but shortly thereafter a witness said Rodger shot three young women standing nearby. Katie Cooper and Veronika Weiss were fatally wounded, and a third victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds but survived.
Rodger then drove to I.V. Deli Mart on Pardall Road where he exited his car, walked into the store, and shot and killed Christopher Michaels-Martinez. By this point, Foot Patrol officers had heard the gunfire and were responding to the scene. They arrived at the deli to see Rodger fleeing eastbound in his car.
Driving on the wrong side of the road near the top of the loop, Rodger fired multiple rounds at two people walking on the sidewalk. Turning south on El Embarcadero before heading east on Del Playa Drive, Rodger then brandished one of his guns at a female victim before firing several rounds at her. He turned his car around and started traveling west on Del Playa where he encountered a lone deputy rushing to the area on foot. He shot at the deputy, who returned fire, before speeding off and ramming into a bicyclist.
At this point Rodger turned north onto Camino Del Sur and shot three people at the intersection of Sabado Tarde Road. Now traveling eastbound on Sabado Tarde and shooting another victim along the road, Rodger was met by four deputies running across Acorn Park. He opened fire at them, and three of the deputies shot back, striking Rodger’s car and hitting him in the left hip area.
Rodger turned south onto El Embarcadero before driving back onto Del Playa Drive where he sped into another bicyclist who was thrown onto the hood of his car and smashed through its windshield. Rodger collided with several parked cars before coming to a stop. When deputies reached the scene, they found Rodger dead with a gunshot wound to his head. Brown said it appears Rodger had taken his own life.
Brown expressed his condolences to the friends and families of those who were killed, and wished a speedy and complete recovery for the injured. He commended his deputies for acting in a “resolute and heroic manner” to stop Rodger before he murdered or maimed any additional victims, pointing to Rodger’s cache of ammunition in his car. Brown asked that anyone with information on the case or who witnessed the killing spree to contact the Sheriff’s Office.
Later Saturday evening, a spokesperson for Santa Barbara City College, where Brown said Rodger was a student, issued a statement explaining that while Rodger had registered at SBCC at various times during the last three years, he had either stopped attending or had withdrawn from all his courses. Before that, in 2011, he had completed three classes, Joan Galvan said. “To our knowledge, none of the identified deceased victims were students at the college,” Galvan stated.
Attorney General Kamala Harris also issued a statement Saturday. “On behalf of the California Department of Justice, I extend my heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the victims of Friday night’s terrible shooting in Isla Vista,” she said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by these tragic acts of violence. My office will continue to work with local and federal law enforcement officials to support the ongoing investigation.”