7 dead, 11 injured in mass shooting in Southern California

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(CNN) — A mentally disturbed 22-year-old man possibly bent on retribution sprayed bullets from a slow-moving car in a Southern California college town, killing six people in a rampage called “premeditated mass murder,” Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies said Saturday.

Based on what police told the family of Elliot Rodger, the parents believe he is the shooter, attorney Alan Shifman, a family spokesman, told reporters. He is the son of Peter Rodger, who is identified as an assistant director of the 2012 film “The Hunger Games,” according to IMDb.com.

The younger Rodger died from a gunshot wound after his car crashed Friday night, police said. It was unclear whether the fatal head wound was self-inflicted or the result of a firefight with police.

Three of the slain people were thought to be University of California students, state university system President Janet Napolitano said. The system has a campus in Santa Barbara.

Eleven people were injured, she said. Authorities had earlier said seven were hurt. Injured people were being treated in a hospital for gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries, including at least one who was in surgery, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

“The sheriff’s office has obtained and is currently analyzing written and video evidence that suggests this was a premeditated mass murder,” Hoover said.

Hoover was referring to a YouTube video titled “Retribution” posted by the young man. In the nearly seven-minute video, Rodger rants about women who ignored or rejected him over the past eight years and warns that he will “punish you all for it.”

“Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge,” he says on the video.

The shootings occurred in Isla Vista near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in a crowded area bustling with activity on Memorial Day weekend.

A life and death situation

Kyle Sullivan, 19, a student at Santa Barbara City College, said he came upon three young women — all shot — on a lawn in front of the Alpha Phi sorority in Isla Vista.

One woman appeared to be dead. Another was struggling and “just barely able to move her eyes,” he said. A third, with a kidney wound, was on the phone with her mother, saying she probably wasn’t going to make it and “how much she loved her,” Sullivan said.

“I really wasn’t able to sleep at all,” Sullivan told CNN. “It was heartbreaking that something would happen in our community like this.”

Nikolaus Becker, a high school senior visiting Isla Vista, was eating a burger in a restaurant with friends. They heard pops and thought fireworks. Some students were doing homework.

“We were actually joking around about it,” he said of the crackling sound. “People were riding their bikes around outside, and parties were still going on.”

Then Becker and friends heard two more sets of bangs. Police were running. A speeding car — moving at least 50 mph — screeched around a corner. When Becker finally went outside a half hour later, he saw body bags on the street.

Robert Johnson told CNN he didn’t hear screams when the gunman opened fire outside a deli.

“I turned and ran in the opposite direction,” he said. “There’s a lot of confusion. Even shortly after this whole ordeal had ended, I think a lot of people didn’t realize the magnitude of the situation.”

Johnson told CNN he was standing on a corner when he heard what he thought were fireworks. Then a black BMW with tinted windows drove by and either slowed down or stopped outside a deli where as many as eight people were eating outside. Someone in the car opened fire.

“It all happened very quickly, but I think this happened to be the largest group on the street,” he said. “It think it was just targeted because it was the largest group in the area.”

People jumped up and ran, Johnson recalled.

One victim, Nick Pasichuke, told CNN he was struck by the gunman’s car.

“There are six other people currently hospitalized with me right now. … There was a guy driving a BMW. I was on a long board and he aimed his car at our group of friends and gunned it into us. I have two broken legs and need surgery. The police said I flew roughly 50 feet into a busy intersection. This is all so crazy.”

Ian Papa said he was inches away on the street when the gunman’s car sped up and struck two bicyclists.

“It happened so fast,” he said. “I had no time to react. I jumped on the sidewalk and I see a man on a BMW, his body inside the windshield and glass broken everywhere … I almost wanted to break into tears. It was a life and death situation.

Gunman talked to victims

The violence began and ended within minutes, from 9:27 p.m. when shots were reported to around 10 minutes later when police discovered the body of the suspected gunman, CNN affiliate KEYT-TV said. Authorities said there were nine separate crime scenes.

“Sheriff’s deputies responded and found several victims suffering from gunshot wounds. As sheriff’s deputies were attending to the victims and performing first aid, they were also receiving suspect information. Only minutes later, there were additional reports of shots fired in several other areas of Isla Vista,” Hoover said.

U.S. law enforcement officials said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI were assisting local police in the investigation, including trying to trace the handgun used and where the suspect obtained it. Agents were on the scene to offer firearms expertise in tracing all details about the weapon using ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, according to the agency.

KEYT reporter John Palminteri told CNN that some witnesses reported hearing the gunman talk to some of his victims as he fired. Outside a 7-11 convenience store, he said, workers came out amid the gunfire to pull to safety a girl who had been shot in the leg. Another victim, a bicyclist, apparently sustained massive head injuries after being struck by the gunman’s car.

“I heard some pops, but I just assumed they were fireworks,” said Daniel Slovinsky, who was eating at a restaurant. “Contrary to what you might expect, there wasn’t a whole lot of chaos immediately. I didn’t hear any screaming. A few people were running. … It wasn’t really until police started yelling at people to get inside that we realized something big went down. But even then people didn’t know what.”

KEYT reported that “witnesses described seeing a black BMW speeding through the streets, spraying bullets at people and various targets.” Six minutes after the first emergency call, the suspected gunman traded fire with sheriff’s deputies, and the vehicle plowed into a parked vehicle, said Hoover, the sheriff’s office spokeswoman.

In a statement on its website Saturday, UC Santa Barbara said several students were taken to local hospitals after the shooting.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those affected,” the statement said.

Santa Barbara City College also reacted Saturday.

“There are no words to express the sadness we have for the victims and their families and for all the residents of Isla Vista,” the statement said. “We know our students co-mingle with UCSB students and Isla Vista residents as part of our greater community and we all, as an extended family, are impacted by this unimaginable event.”

College President Lori Gaskin added, “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.”

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider said in a statement, “My heart goes out to the victims, their families, loved ones and friends. I know the Santa Barbara community joins me in hoping for a quick and full recovery of those victims currently receiving medical care.”

The suspected gunman was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound, Hoover said. A semiautomatic handgun was recovered. It appears he acted alone, Hoover said.

Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown called the suspect “severely mentally disturbed,” according to KEYT.

The identities of the victims won’t be released until the next of kin are notified, she said.

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    • Rob

      Are you slow?. Chicago had a banned for your years but we lead the nation in murders so do some research before you spill out more nonsense.

    • DefiantOne

      Is it the guns though? Conservatives love to talk about the "black crime" in Chicago. So do we get to start calling white guys thugs yet, or is that still reserved only for black football players who yell on TV after games? When does the media's national conversation on the "white culture of violence" and "white-on-white-crime" start?

      White males have been responsible for more death, darkness, despair, and destruction than any other group in history: from the Inquisition, to the Crusades, to the witch trials, to the slave trade, to WW1, to WW2, to Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan, to Hitler and Stalin and all kinds of genocides, to 99% of serial killers and mass murderers, to the atomic bomb, to the Great Depression and Great Recession, to political policy which exacerbate the poverty and hopelessless that allows crime to flourish. They have the fingerprints white guys all over.

      White murderers (Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman) and white criminals (like the Wall Streeters who indirectly caused and are still causing thousands and thousands of deaths by crashing the economy) don't get tried and convicted. They go free. Heck, the Zimmerman case proved that if you're a white male gun nut you can have a long and still growing record of violent encounters; you can stalk, scare, and pick a fight with an unarmed kid and kill him when he fights back in defense; and then walk free because the kid was black, thus obviously dangerous, at fault, and deserved to die.

      Where there is poverty and hopelessless there will be crime. Conservative whites do everything possible to exacerbate economic inequality and poverty, then concern troll about the crime that is the inevitable result of their institutionalized greed and selfishness. Statistics can reflect a biased criminal justice system all you want: but they can't erase the entirety of world history in white white men have caused more death and destruction than any group.

      Here's a thought: if right-wingers so suddenly concerned about "black criminality" how about they stop thwarting the policies designed to alleviate the poverty and hopelessness that leads to that criminality? How about they stop cutting taxes for the rich so we can grow the middle class, how about they stop obstructing jobs bills so we can alleviate poverty, how about they stop demonizing public education and start funding it they way they fund wars for their rich friends, how about they us get guns off the street instead of letting little white male nuts shoot up schools and theaters?

  • Jake

    Almost all of the mass shootings take place in gun-free zones. That is why they become mass shootings. Law-abiding citizens cannot legally carry their firearms and therefore cannot use them. The cops can never get there in time, and when they do, the shooters often commit suicide to not face consequences. Shootings stopped by law-abiding citizens are almost never "mass" shootings because they are stopped so quickly. The media doesn't want to report these things because they are mainly anti-gun. Thus you never here about them. You have to dig further to find stories where a firearm was used to protect someone, as the mass media doesn't like those stories.

  • naksuthim

    Hardly a week goes by without a new report of ANOTHER mass gun killing by some lunatic in the USA. And Americans are still trying to figure out the solution to these gun shootings:. Is it "more guns", "less guns" , "more mental heath care", "more religion",
    "less bullying" , "more armed guards" etc.

    Hey, Americans!! Just Look around you at the rest of the civilized world.
    Every other developed country in the world has ALREADY figured out how
    NOT make gun massacres a monthly news event.
    England, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Japan, New Zealand. Spain , Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Greece, Austria ,Canada, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, China, France, Germany…all the other developed countries of the world DON'T havethese monthly shootings.

    Only in the USA have gun massacres become a regular ritual.
    It's simple. Because other countries take gun ownership SERIOUSLY.
    People in other countries can't just walk into Guns Galore (the store near Ft Hood that has sold guns to TWO GUN KILLERS) and buy an assault rifle… like a 6 pack of beer.

    Meanwhile….owning a lethal weapon in the US is a JOKE.
    Anyone can own a gun…."raging racists". the mentally insane, the
    blind, drug addicts, alcoholics, suspected terrorists, people with
    uncontrollable rage, 4 year old toddlers, even people who don't know
    which end of the gun is front…ANYONE..can own a deadly weapon that can cause mass destruction.

    Yet Americans are still trying to figure out why THEY are the only developed country on earth with monthly gun massacres?

    When all the other advanced countries around the world have already
    solved a problem that Americans still keep having month after
    month…year after year…and Americans still can't figure out why
    they are the only one left with the problem.– It's probably because
    Americans don't have enough common sense to learn from other people.

    They have to keep making the same mistake over and over again.

    It's called STUPIDITY.

  • Ismael

    This article was the headline on CNN. In Chicago that's regular news, no headlines. We are used to this violence every week. So seven people died and seven injured in Santa Barbara big deal. Our numbers are always higher and it does not make the national news.

    • Joyce

      CNN did an 8 week series on the violence in Chicago. Unfortunately, it is not news any longer when 7 people get shot in chicago…it is accepted as a way of life. Giving everybody a gun is not going to solve the problem….it would just create a big shoot-out. How do we solve this problem? I don't think it is solvable until our law makers acknowledge the problem and make tougher laws…..and enforce them!

    • coachproductreview

      Yes 3 of the 6 murdered by stabbing them. That is half the murders that he committed yet the story is written to make you think all 6 were shot. They also failed to mention the list of medications he was on which is now public information. More mainstream media propaganda.

  • Carlos

    Who is surprise about this anymore? Who need more gun on the street? And why in the hell people keep talking about Chicago when someone do a mass shooting? One more thing. Why tea party,GOP and white people still talking about some bullshit bengazi when 7 people died in the usa the other day.

  • Picklerno

    Let's just round up all the guns! NO ONE SHOULD HAVE GUNS! To hell with the constitution and to Hell with those inbred rednecks and their huntin' and right to bare arms!!! TOO MANY CHILDREN ARE DYING! England and Austrailia have the right idea: NO ONE can win a gun unless they are military and police, and crime dropped 85% in those countries!

    • Darabont fan

      Win? Win a gun? You mean own. How about you and the rest of your fascist libs go move to those countries?

      • Picklerno

        Why don't you move to North Korea or Afghanistan! And when you get shot up by the military or the police for opening your big fat redneck mouth, you'll know 1) What a fascist really is and 2) What it feels like to be shooting victim!