Tuesday 26 September 2017

Hollywood director’s son linked to massacre

Police analyse tapes after gunman killed six at American beach resort

Neil Lancefield

The family of a man suspected of going on a shooting rampage near a Californian university called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos “regarding suicide and the killing of people”, a lawyer said yesterday.

Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human”, family attorney Alan Shifman said.

Shifman added that police did not find a history of guns, but did say Rodger “didn't have a lot of friends,” had trouble making friends and didn't have any girlfriends.

Shifman is the attorney |for Peter Rodger, who was |one of the assistant directors on The Hunger Games film |series. Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the shooter.

The drive-by gunman went on a night-time rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded, authorities said yesterday.

The gunman got into two gun battles with police on Friday night in the beachside community of Isla Vista before crashing his black BMW into a parked car, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

Deputies found him dead with a gunshot wound to the head, but it wasn't immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire or if he took his own life, Brown said.

A semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the scene near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Investigators know the gunman's name, but Brown said he could not release it pending notification of relatives.

“We're analysing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder,” Brown said.

A disturbing YouTube video that shows a young man describing plans to shoot women appears to be connected to the attack, police said. Officials would not say whether the person in the video was a suspect in the shooting. Police say they are investigating the video.

In the video, posted on Friday, the man sits in a black car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take revenge against humanity.

He describes loneliness and frustration because “girls have never been attracted to me”, and says that, at 22, he is still a virgin.

The video, which is almost seven minutes long, appears scripted. The identity of the person in the video could not be independently confirmed.

The shootings started at 9.30pm in Isla Vista, next to UC Santa Barbara's campus.

Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson was walking out of a comedy show when he was shot in front of a popular pizza place. He stumbled into a nearby house.

“He walked into these random guys' house, bleeding,” he said. Mattera was sitting at a bonfire with friends when at least one gunshot whizzed overhead. The friends ran for cover when they heard the barrage of gunfire.

“We heard so many gunshots, it was unbelievable. I thought they were firecrackers. There had to have been at least like two guns. There were a lot of shots,” he said. The shootings occurred at several sites, resulting in nine crime scenes, police said.

The victims' identities were not immediately released. The injured were being treated for gunshot wounds, including at least one person who underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries, Brown said.

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