Gunman Kills 6 in California College Town Drive-By

A gunman killed six people and wounded seven in drive-by shootings in a Southern California college town before he crashed his vehicle and was found dead inside, police said Saturday.

Police are investigating a link between the suspect and a threatening video posted online. The shootings occurred Friday night in Isla Vista, near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

A young man posted a video on YouTube earlier in which he expressed his bitterness and loneliness over rejection by women and threatened to kill people. He also threatened suicide. Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown said the video appeared to have been made by the suspect.

Police called the incident pre-meditated murder and the shooter mentally disturbed.

YouTube has removed the video, saying it violated terms of service. It was also posted on the suspect’s Facebook page and his blog. He said he planned a “day of retribution” during which he would target women on the college campus.

Witnesses said the driver of a black BMW methodically shot at people at several locations in the Isla Vista entertainment district over the course of 10 minutes. The shootings began at approximately 9:27 p.m.

There were nine separate crime scenes, police said. The car’s windows were tinted darkly and the driver was not visible to witnesses.

The car careened wildly through the streets, slowing to a crawl, then accelerating quickly, and knocked over at least two bicyclists, injuring one biker’s leg.

The majority of the killings occurred at a popular Friday night gathering point for students.

Initially, people who heard the shootings believed they were fireworks. Students said it was not unusual to hear fireworks in Isla Vista.

Deputies exchanged fire with the gunman twice before he crashed. It is not clear whether the head wound that killed him was self-inflicted. Police recovered one gun but did not rule out the possibility that more than one was used in the killings.

Victims who were wounded in the shootings were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The hospital has not yet released details about their condition.

The suspect’s father is Peter Rodger, an assistant director of the film “The Hunger Games.” An attorney for the family said they believe their son is the suspect. The lawyer tentatively identified him as Elliot Rodgers, 22.

The sheriff did not identify the suspect when briefing reporters, but the license plates on the vehicle are said to match those shown on Rodger’s car in Facebook postings.

He had apparently posted a series of disturbing videos threatening to do violence to himself and others, including the one under review by investigators. Several were posted within the 24-hour period leading up to the rampage.

His family had contacted police regarding the postings. Officers reportedly interviewed him, but did not believe he posed a danger to the public.

The university is offering counseling and other services to families of victims, students and faculty.


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