Calif. Community Struggles For Answers In Wake Of Killing Spree

The community near the University of California, Santa Barbara, is unusually quiet after Friday's killings. Reporter Sam Sanders talks with NPR's Arun Rath about how the community is coping with the latest revelations.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. The communities around the University of California, Santa Barbara continue to look for answers after a Friday-night killing rampage left seven dead, including the suspect. Back in April, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff got a call from a relative of the 22-year-old suspect, Elliot Rodger, with concerns about Rodger's mental health. This morning, Sheriff Bill Brown told Face the Nation, when his officers visited the young man they saw nothing that raised concern.

SHERIFF BILL BROWN: He was able to make a very convincing story that there was no problem, that he wasn't going to hurt himself or anyone else, that he just didn't meet the criteria for any further intervention at that point. We certainly, you know, wish that we could turn the clock back and maybe change some things.

RATH: NPR Sam Sanders has the latest from the community of Isla Vista. And Sam, what's the latest there?

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Well, authorities haven't released new details about the killer or the victims today but I spent a good amount of time talking to residents here. I spoke with one student UCSB senior Parker McMilan Lanting. He knew one of the victims. Lanting says, since the tragedy the community of Isla Vista has been strangely quiet.

PARKER MCMILAN LANTING: We have a reputation. We do tend to get a little bit loud. People are partying, people are drinking, people are having a good time. I've never seen IV as quiet on a Saturday night as it was. You could hear a pin drop on any street.

SANDERS: The campus community held a candlelight vigil last night. Lanting says thousands were in attendance.

RATH: So Sam, tell us what we know now about what happened on Friday night.

SANDERS: Well, the sheriff of Santa Barbara County gave a news conference last night detailing the events. They say a suspect living in Isla Vista fatally stabbed three roommates in his apartment complex, then went to a nearby sorority house. He knocked on the door of that house repeatedly and when no one answered he shot three women who were standing outside of the house.

The suspect then fired shots at a nearby deli. He continued to drive through the area, which is full of student housing, and fired at pedestrians as he drove. He eventually crashed and was found later with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

RATH: So at this point what do we know about the suspect?

SANDERS: Well, his name is Elliot Rodger. He was 22 years old and was a student at nearby Santa Barbara City College. His YouTube channel has multiple videos detailing what led to his violence. He talks about being lonely and very angry that he still was a virgin at 22. In one video he said: I'll give you exactly what you deserve, all of you, all you girls who rejected me and looked down upon me and treated me like scum while you gave yourself to other men.

He also said: All of you sexually active men, I hate you. Rodger also wrote a 140-page manifesto titled My Twisted World. In it Rodger described his plans in detail, calling it the day of retribution. Authorities received the manifesto just before he went on his killing spree.

RATH: Are people in the community starting to look for answers or assign blame for the killings?

SANDERS: Of course, Arun, after the initial wave of shock after killings like these, people begin to ask questions. That UCSB senior Parker Lanting says gun control and mental health must be discussed.

LANTING: I think the fact he had 400 rounds of ammunition - over 400 rounds of ammunition - is ridiculous. No one person should own that recreationally. He was a 22-year-old student who obviously had mental issues. Somebody should've seen this and somebody should've spotted this pattern.

SANDERS: So far, Arun, authorities have ID'd three of the victims. They were all students at UCSB.

RATH: NPR's Sam Sanders. Sam, thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you, Arun.

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