Americas

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Mass murderer's family says he was 'depressed, dark and very disturbed'

Philip Sherwell, Nick Allen and James Edgar

Published 26/05/2014|02:30

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The gunman who carried out a massacre in a quiet California university town was "very disturbed" his family has said.

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Elliot Rodger (22), originally from Britain, killed six victims and injured 13. Police say he was armed with three weapons and they believe he had been intent on even greater carnage before taking his own life.

The killer was born in London to an English father – film director Peter Rodger – and a Malaysian mother, but moved to America at the age of five.

His grandmother Lois Rodger, speaking from her home in Kent: "He was a very disturbed boy."

The gunman's aunt, Jenni Rodger, who now lives in France, also said that the family had concerns about him for a long time.

"Even as a child he was very, very disturbed," she said.

"He was always a loner and was very dark and very depressed. He never used to laugh. I never heard of him ever having a friend."

It has emerged the killer, who had Asperger's syndrome, had 400 rounds of ammunition left when sheriff's deputies brought his murderous rampage to a halt.

Spree

Last night, 3,000 people gathered in silence on the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara, each carrying a candle. They walked silently from the campus and through the small student-dominated town of Isla Vista, passing close to where the victims were killed.

Bill Brown, Sheriff of Santa Barbara, said Rodger's murderous spree began when he stabbed and killed three men at his student residence.

He then made his way to the Alpha Phi sorority house where he intended to commit mass murder, according to his plans for what he called the "day of retribution" as spelled out in a 141-page written manifesto that became public last night.

Despite his loud and aggressive knocking, no female students answered the door and Rodger retreated across the street. From there, he shot three women who were outside the house, killing two of them – both UCSB students – and seriously wounding a third with several shots.

Rodger drove to another location, a grocery store, where he shot and killed his sixth victim, Christopher Martinez, another UCSB student, who had just left his apartment to buy some food.

The gunman then jumped into his BMW and sped off through the student community, firing off more bullets at passers-by and mowing down two cyclists, though, remarkably, killing nobody else.

Sheriff's deputies patrolling on foot engaged him in gun battles on two separate occasions. On the second encounter, he was apparently shot through the hip.

As he tried to drive off at high speed, he struck the second cyclist and the rider was thrown onto the car's bonnet and smashed the windscreen, causing Rodger to crash into other vehicles.

By the time officers reached the car and dragged him out of the vehicle, he was "obviously dead" from what was believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, the sheriff said.

Mr Brown said that 13 people were injured and six killed, as well as Rodger, in 12 crime scene incidents at 10 different locations.

Police recovered three 9mm semi-automatic handguns from the car and more than 400 rounds of ammunition. The weapons were all legally purchased at licensed gun dealers and registered to Rodger.

The ease with which the young man acquired the weapons will, once again, raise questions about gun legislation in America.

Insanity

Christopher Martinez's grief-stricken father Richard broke down in tears after railing at America's lax gun laws as he described how his family was "lost and broken".

"Chris died because of craven irresponsible politicians and the National Rifle Association," said Mr Martinez.

"They talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live? When will this insanity stop?"

In the manifesto he left behind, entitled 'My Twisted World', the gunman outlined his deep-rooted fury with perceived slights by society.

He detailed how sheriff's deputies almost thwarted his killing plan when they knocked on his door last month.

The officers were responding to a call – thought to be Rodger's mother – about his mental well-being.

Rodger wrote about his relief that officers did not enter his apartment as they would have found weapons and his writings. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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