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7 dead, 13 injured in California coast shootings; suspect killed

(The Associated Press)
(The Associated Press)
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Updated: 5/24 6:01 pm
FROM KSBY.COM

ISLA VISTA, Calif. -- The community of Isla Vista and California's entire Central Coast is reeling from a mass murder Friday night.

Seven people were killed and 13 were wounded Friday night when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a stabbing and shooting rampage.

According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, Rodger stabbed to death three men who shared his residence and later shot to death two women outside of a soroity.

Gun shots first rang out at approximately 9:27 p.m. in Isla Vista. When Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies arrived they found several victims suffering from gunshot wounds. Minutes later, additional 911 calls detailed additional reports of shots fired in several other locations. Witnesses reported the gun shots coming from a lone shooter driving a black BMW.

At approximately 9:33 p.m., Santa Barbara County Deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspect. According to sheriff's officials, after a gun battle, the suspect fled in his vehicle down Del Playa Drive and eventually crashed into a parked car. The suspect, now identified as Rodger, was found dead in his vehicle. He appeared to have died from a gunshot wound but it is not clear at this time if he was shot by deputies. Three semi-automatic handguns were recovered in the vehicle.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said, "We are currently analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder."

After the chaos of those seven minutes, seven people were dead including the alleged gunman and seven more required hospitalization. It is believed some victims were struck by a vehicle while others were shot. All told there were nine crime scenes in Isla Vista.

KSBY has learned all survivors were originally transported to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara but their official conditions are unknown.

The victim's names are not being released until next of kin are notified.

KSBY-TV news spoke to the lawyer for the Rodger family. Alan Shifman says the Rodger family believes their son, Elliot Rodger, was the shooter and the driver of the vehicle involved in the Isla Vista deadly rampage. He says family members contacted a police agency several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people." Watch one of Elliot Rodger's YouTube videos here. Shifman said police conducted an investigation and interviewed the man. He also said that they found Rodger to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human." Shifman said police did not find a history of guns, but did say the man had trouble making friends.

Shifman is the attorney for Peter Rodger, Elliot Rodger's father, who was an assistant director on "The Hunger Games" film series.

Today, Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24) released the following statement following Friday night's shootings in Isla Vista:

"My heart is broken over the shooting in Isla Vista last night and the lives it claimed. Our community is grieving and many people are hurting from this senseless tragedy. Isla Vista is a special place, and an important part of our Central Coast community. We all join you in mourning and our prayers are with you," said Lois Capps in a written statement.

Capps added, "We've endured too many tragedies as a nation over the past few years. But now is a time for us to pray and to come together as a community. May God bless the memory of these victims, give strength to those who were injured, and support all who are touched by this unconscionable act."

City of Goleta Mayor Michael Bennett also released a written statement.

"We are distressed by the horrible events that occurred in Isla Vista last night and offer our condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy. We hope for a quick recovery for the physically injured and emotionally wounded. The City of Goleta has offered and will continue to provide assistance to law enforcement, the University, and the County as they process this incident and provide support to those affected. Let's keep the community in our prayers as we deal with this horrific situation," said Bennett.

Santa Barbara City College stated it is working with UCSB to provide counseling and support to their students. The college will also provide on campus support for SBCC students who return to class next week. SBCC President Lori Gaskin said, "In times of tragedy, we need to turn to each other for support, care for each other as we grieve for the victims, and pull together in compassion and strength."

Meanwhile the University of California Santa Barbara officials say the UCSB Police Department is working closely with the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office in support of the ongoing investigation. The University released a statement stating, "We have been notified that several of our students were taken to local hospitals last night, but we do not have additional information at this time. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those affected."

The University has been making counseling services available for students throughout the night and has set up emergency housing for displaced students. The University is also setting up a call center for parents and students with questions. The 24/7 UCSB counseling hotline is available for emergency support and referrals at (805) 893-4411. Professional counseling support is now also be available on campus today (5/24) at the Student Resource Building.

"While details on the shooting are scarce and families are still being notified, the campus is already taking steps in response. University officials have set up a room for families who are coming to campus, and are making counseling services available to any students, faculty and staff who need our support. UC Santa Barbara officials are also working with the local County Sheriff's Office and have opened the campus' Emergency Operations Center. We will share additional information as it becomes available."

University of California President Janet Napolitano issued the following statement:

"I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news of a mass shooting last night in the Isla Vista area near UC Santa Barbara. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy, their families and the entire Santa Barbara community. I have been in touch with UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang since the news broke, and have told him the UC Office of the President will assist his campus in any way we can," said Napolitano.

KSBY News will broadcast a news conference with the latest information at 4:00 p.m. on KSBY and stream it online on ksby.com.

Anyone who has information or may have been a witness to any of the incidents Friday night is asked to call the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office tip line at (805) 681-4171.

The identities of the victims have not been released.


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