Sheriff Bill Brown at the May 24th press conference.
Paul Wellman

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office today released a report on the April 30 “check the welfare” call they made on Elliot Rodger, who, less than one month later on May 23, would carry out a murderous rampage through the streets of Isla Vista. Since the office is not fielding any more inquiries on this event nor issuing any future information on it at the current time, we are publishing the bulk of the press release as it was submitted below:

April 30, 2014 “Check the Welfare” Call

At approximately 10:17 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, the Santa Barbara County Emergency Communications Center received a call from a mental health staff member assigned to answer the Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Toll Free Access Line. The staff member requested deputies check the welfare of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who lived at an apartment in the 6500 block of Seville Road in Isla Vista. The staff member said she had been contacted by a person who identified himself as a friend of Elliot Rodger. Based on information from the caller and Elliot Rodger’s mother, the staff member on the Mental Health hot line requested a welfare check on Elliot Rodger.

Four Sheriff’s deputies and a UCSB police officer assigned to the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, along with a dispatcher-in-training, responded to the call. The Isla Vista Foot Patrol is made up of Sheriff’s deputies and UCSB police officers who offer community policing by patrolling the area in groups of two or three, primarily on foot or bicycle, to protect and serve the large student population and other Isla Vista residents and visitors. Typically, in a “check the welfare” call of this nature, only two deputies would respond. In this case, deputies who were not assigned to the call, but who were familiar with Rodger as a victim in a January 2014 petty theft case, also decided to respond.

When Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Rodger’s address, they contacted him outside of his residence. Deputies found Rodger to be shy, timid and polite. When questioned by the deputies about reported disturbing videos he had posted on-line, Rodger told them he was having trouble fitting in socially in Isla Vista and the videos were merely a way of expressing himself. Based upon the information available to them at the time, Sheriff’s deputies concluded that Rodger was not an immediate threat to himself or others, and that they did not have cause to place him on an involuntary mental health hold, or to enter or search his residence. Therefore, they did not view the videos or conduct a weapons check on Rodger.

A Sheriff’s deputy on-scene called Rodger’s mother and briefed her on the situation. He then passed the phone to Rodger so he could speak to his mother directly. During the conversation with his mother, Rodger told her he was fine and that he would call her later. Before leaving, deputies gave Rodger information on several local services he could contact if he needed help, including calling the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies’ contact with Rodger lasted approximately ten minutes.

Based on the information reviewed thus far, the Sheriff’s Office has determined that the deputies who responded handled the call in a professional manner consistent with state law and department policy.

The Timeline for Receipt of the “Manifesto” and “Retribution” Video

The Sheriff’s Office became aware of and received the “Retribution” video and the 137-page “manifesto” approximately one hour after the shooting rampage occurred.

The first gunshots were reported at 9:27 p.m. on May 23rd and approximately eight minutes later the incident was over. During that time, a total of three innocent victims were shot to death, 13 were wounded and the suspect died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Three additional murder victims were subsequently found in Rodger’s residence.

Rodger uploaded his “Retribution” video on YouTube at 9:17 p.m. At 9:18 p.m., he e-mailed his “manifesto” to several people, including his mother, father and therapist. The therapist saw the e-mail at approximately 10:00 p.m. and contacted the Santa Barbara Police Department at approximately 10:11 p.m. The Santa Barbara Police Department contacted Rodger’s mother to obtain further information. This information was subsequently forwarded to Sheriff’s detectives at approximately 10:26 p.m., at which time they first viewed the “manifesto” and “Retribution” video.

The Current State of the Investigation

This is one of the most complex investigations in the history of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s detectives are conducting numerous interviews and processing a huge amount of evidence in the case. Due to the fact that this investigation is ongoing, no further information related to the case will be released at this time. The Sheriff-Coroner’s Office is conducting a complete death investigation on all six victims and the suspect. The Coroner’s Office will not be releasing any further information, including autopsy reports and toxicology results related to the death investigations, until they are complete.


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