Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown confirmed six people were killed during multiple drive-by shootings Friday night in Isla Vista, with the suspect also dying from gunshot wounds, and seven victims now being hospitalized.
Law enforcement has not confirmed whether the suspect took his own life or was killed by police gunfire, but Brown said the suspect died from a gunshot wound to the head and the “mass murder situation” was committed with a semiautomatic handgun; all shootings occurred within a 10-minute time period. Driving a black BMW, the suspect shot at passersby in at least nine different crime scenes around I.V., including the area around 7-11, I.V. Deli Mart and near the 6500 through 6700 blocks of Sabado Tarde Road, according to police and eyewitness accounts. Around 9:27 p.m., Sheriff’s deputies received reports of multiple gun shots, and around 9:33 pm. the suspect engaged several deputies with gunfire. The suspect then fled following the gunfire, and crashed his vehicle into a parked car on Del Playa Drive.
At a press conference following the night of the incident, at around 2 a.m., Brown called the incident a “mass murder situation” and said there is only one suspect, while also saying the multiple shootings are “obviously the work of a madman.”
One local resident and UCSB student, Niklas Svennefiord, said he saw the suspect flee from police, from his house on the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive. The suspect, a man in a white shirt, crashed into a nearby black Jeep, he said.
“I heard a couple gunfire shots. I thought they were fireworks, so I didn’t think about it, but I was pretty startled and then I heard a car hit into another car. So I look up into my little window that’s in my shower, and I see a guy try to flee and the cops shoot him,” Svennefiord said.
Svennefiord said the suspect then continued to flee from police and also said that he thought one of his friends was injured or killed.
“I see a guy try to flee out of the car and the cop shoots him and then runs up to the car, seriously, and runs up to the car, looks into the car and the guy tries rolling around, and the cop kind of kicked him to make sure he was down,” Svennefiord said.
While saying the situation was “a little obscure,” Svennefiord said it appeared as if the whole incident ended in front of his house on the 6500 block of Del Playa.
Brad Martin, a fourth-year anthropology major, said his girlfriend was walking to his house when she was approached by a vehicle, near the 6500 of Del Playa. Although police say there was only one suspect, Martin said his girlfriend told him there was more than one person in the vehicle.
“She is absolutely hysterical, and so she tells me that these guys pulled up and said, ‘Hey what’s up.’ She turned and looked, and they had a gun and she wasn’t sure if it was a real gun or a fake gun or what type of gun it was,” Martin said. “She said the next second, he raised it up to her face … and she turned around and started running. That’s when she heard ‘bang bang bang’ right behind her, as she was running, and she could feel the wind hitting her hair from the power of the gunshot from less than five feet away from the car.”
Twenty-two-year-old SBCC student Elliot Rodger posted a YouTube video Friday evening detailing his plans to carry out a murder massacre. Although Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown declined to release the preliminary identification of the suspect at the press conference, Rodger’s father Peter Rodger, an assistant director of a movie in The Hunger Games series, said in a May 24 statement from his attorney that he believes his son to be the shooter.
“This child was being treated by multiple professionals,” attorney Alan Shifman said.
Shifman said Rodger was diagnosed with a highly functioning form of Asperger syndrome and said there was “no history of guns for this child.” Shifman said the Rodger family reported Elliot Rodger’s suicidal rants in multiple recent Youtube videos – which only date back to 3 days ago – to police.
“The position of the family is not to be selfish, but to mourn the losses of all the victims,” Shifman said.
Full video of the Sheriff’s press conference.
Video Courtesy of Erika Martin / Daily Nexus.
Photos Courtesy of Daniel Slovinsky / Daily Nexus and Zack Warburg.