Crime & Justice

Isla Vista shootings: Killings near UC Santa Barbara reminiscent of 2001 murders

UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
Mike Eliason/AP
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
Students and mourners gather on the University of California Santa Barbara campus Thursday, March 1, 2001, to remember the four people killed when UC Santa Barbara student David Attias ran them down on a local street.
Kim D. Johnson/AP
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
A photo of Ruthy Levy, who was one of four pedestrians killed Feb. 23, 2001 when a 1991 Saab allegedly driven by David Attias slammed into several groups of students, is surrounded by candles and flowers Feb. 26, 2001 in Goleta, California.
Rod Rolle/Getty Images
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
Diann and Danial Attias meet with the press outside the Santa Barbara Courthouse FebrFeb.uary 27, 2001 in Santa Barbara. The couple said they deeply regret the action of their son, David Edward Attias, who ran over five people with his car and killed four on Feb. 23, 2001. Danial Attias is a television director who has worked on "Ally McBeal" and "The Sopranos."
Rod Rolle/Getty Images
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
Photos of Christopher Edward Davis, left, and Nicholas Shaw Bourdakis, right, who were among the four pedestrians killed when a 1991 Saab allegedly driven by David Attias slammed into several groups of students, are surrounded by candles and flowers Feb. 26, 2001 in Goleta, California.
Rod Rolle/Getty Images
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
A special team of California Highway Patrol Traffic officers shield the car driven by David E. Attias as they examine it Feb. 26, 2001 in Goleta, California.
Rod Rolle/Getty Images
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
Photos of Christopher Edward Davis, left, and Nicolas Shaw Bourdakis, right, who were among the four pedestrians killed when a 1991 Saab allegedly driven by David Attias slammed into several groups of students, are surrounded by candles and flowers Feb. 26, 2001 in Goleta, California.
Rod Rolle/Getty Images
UC Santa Barbara freshman David Edward Attias, 18, of Santa Monica, sits in a holding cell Tuesday Feb. 27, 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara.
A Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo shows David Edward Attias following his arrest Feb. 23, 2001.
Rod Rolle/Getty Images


The Friday night shootings in Isla Vista that left seven people dead are drawing reaction from a family involved in a similar incident more than a decade ago. On Feb. 23, 2001 University of California, Santa Barbara student David Attias, 20, drove his car into a crowd of students in Isla Vista and killed four people, including Christopher Davis, Ruth Levy and Nicholas Bourdakis, all 20, and Elie Israel, 27.

"It's sad, it's heartbreaking.  There is nothing more horrible than having a policeman tell you that your son is dead," said Tricia Bourdakis, mother of Nicholas. 

"The sad part is that this incident is not a reminder, because we are reminded every day of our loss. But it is a reminder that life is precious," said Bourdakis.

RELATED: UCSB 'Angel of Death' who killed 4 in 2001 to be released

Attias is the son of TV director Daniel Attias, whose credits include "Homeland," "True Blood" and "The Killing." He was a freshman when he drove his Saab down Sabado Tarde Road in Isla Vista. He was charged with four counts of second-degree murder.

During his trial, more than 100 witnesses testified about his long history of mental health issues, including a statement he made the to bystanders immediately after the crash: "I am the angel of death."
 
A jury convicted Attias, and he was later ruled insane. He spent 10 years at a California psychiatric hospital.

Bourdakis says the mental health system in California has not improved since Attias killed her son.

"The Isla Vista shooting is an example of what's happening all over the place," Bourdakis said. "The problem is not Isla Vista. This can happen anywhere. People need to look at our mental health system and parents need to take more responsibility."

Attias is currently in an outpatient treatment program.