Thursday 12 December 2019

Parents' doomed frantic race to stop son's killing rampage

Nick Allen in California

The parents of California gunman Elliot Rodger heard about his rampage on their car radio as they rushed to the scene in an attempt to stop him committing mass murder.

Minutes before launching an onslaught that killed six people and wounded 13, the gunman emailed his 141-page manifesto to 30 people including his mother, father, former teachers and therapists.

One of the therapists immediately telephoned Rodger's mother Chin Rodger. He said: "Have you gotten Elliot's email? I think you should see it."

The time was 9.17pm on Friday last, about 13 minutes before the massacre began.

Mrs Rodger then looked at his YouTube page, where her son had previously placed disturbing videos, and found a new one of him talking about "revenge against humanity".

She called the police and the gunman's father, 'Hunger Games' assistant director Peter Rodger.

Together, they began driving 100 miles from just outside Los Angeles to Isla Vista, where their son was a student at the University of California Santa Barbara

The reports on the radio confirmed a shooting had happened. When they got to Isla Vista, police told them Rodger (22) was the shooter.

According to family friend Simon Astaire, Elliot Rodger had been seeing therapists from the age of eight, including virtually every day through his high school years.

Mr Astaire told CNN that he was "reserved to a daunting degree", but "guns were never part of the dialogue".

He said: "His parents were conscious and concerned about their son's health. They thought he was in good hands."

But he added that "in a moment of indescribable grief", they were "of course asking themselves, 'Did we do as much as we can do?'"

Others who received the manifesto by email included Cathleen Bloeser (58), mother of Rodger's childhood friend Paul Bloeser. She said Rodger had previously asked for Paul and another former friend to stay with him at his apartment in Isla Vista on the weekend of the shooting. She said Rodger had also, in the past, talked to her son about wanting to rape women.

She said last night: "I have a feeling that they would have been right there as a part of it and been shot as well."

It has also emerged that Rodger may have used a machete and hammer to slaughter his first three victims in the apartment he planned to turn into a "personal torture and killing chamber".

One of the victims,Cheng Yuan Hong (20), an engineering student from Taiwan, was a room-mate. Elliot Rodger had accused him of stealing three candles worth $22 (€16) from him in January.

At the time Rodger attempted a citizen's arrest over the alleged theft and called police but Mr Hong was released. Friends of Mr Hong said he was planning to move out at the end of the semester because Rodger was "strange". Two machetes, a hammer and a knife, were among the items removed from the ground floor corner apartment they shared.

In his manifesto Rodger had described how he intended to use the hammer to knock out his room-mates and then slit their throats a day before launching his gun massacre. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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