Isla Vista shooting update: Apartment victims ID'd; Father recalls life of daughter killed in attack

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On Sunday, Santa Barbara sheriff's officials continued to investigate Friday's murder spree in Isla Vista that left seven people dead, including the gunman, Elliot Rodgers.

In a TV interview, Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown defended his department's handling of the case, even as it became clear that deputies who had visited Rodger's apartment last month at the insistence of his parents did not know of the threatening videos he had uploaded. 

The identities of many of Friday's victims and and stories about their lives trickled out Sunday as well, as the UC Santa Barbara campus community mourned and began working to recover.


Update 4:35: Victims found in Rodger's apartment ID'd

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's department has released the name of three victims who were found in Rodger's apartment. Officials believe all three were stabbed to death not long before Rodger took three handguns and drove off in his car, determined to kill as many people as he could.

According to the sheriff's department: 

The victims are 20-year-old Cheng Yuan Hong of San Jose, California, 19-year-old George Chen, also of San Jose, California and 20-year-old Weihan Wang of Fremont, California.  All three victims were UCSB students. They were found deceased with multiple stab wounds in Rodger’s apartment located in the 6500 block of Seville Road in Isla Vista.  Hong and Chen are listed on the lease for the apartment as tenants, along with Rodger.  Sheriff’s investigators are in the process of determining whether Wang was also a roommate or was visiting the residence.

San Luis Obispo's KSBY TV reports that Rodger had previously called police in the past to turn in his roommate, Cheng Yuan Hong, for theft:

Dudley says Hong was involved in a case involving stolen candles. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office mentioned that case at a Saturday press conference, saying Rodger contacted the sheriff's office, reporting his roommates had stolen candles.

Hong was charged with petty theft, and Dudley says he pled guilty.

Update 4:10 p.m.: Rodger's parents raced to school during shooting; SB sheriff says deputies didn't know of videos

Elliot Rodger's parents were on their way to the university while their son's rampage was unfolding, the L.A. Times reported Sunday. 

Simon Astaire, a family friend and Hollywood agent, spoke to the paper on behalf of the family. He said Elliot Rodger's mother, Chin, heard from his psychologist at around 9:47 p.m. Friday that her son had published a 141-page manifesto that talked about his taking "retribution" on those that had tormented him. 

The Times reports:

Chin Rodger frantically called her ex-husband Peter, a Hollywood director and photographer, who was dining with his wife and two friends.

They decided to race to Isla Vista, the college community outside Santa Barbara where Elliot lived. Astaire said Chin called either 911 or the sheriff directly, and arranged to meet with authorities when they arrived. As they drove up the 101 Freeway, they heard news of a shooting in Isla Vista on the radio. Elliot is accused of killing six people before taking his own life.

Chin and Peter Rodger arrived at a police station in Santa Barbara, only to learn that it was too late, the Times reports.

The Associated Press also reported Sunday that the deputies who showed up at Rodger's doorstep a week earlier had no knowledge of the videos he'd posted, which threatened suicide and violence.

The AP reports:

It's not clear why the sheriffs did not become aware of the videos. Attorney Alan Shifman said the Rodger family had called police after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people" that their son had been posting.

Update 3:43 p.m.: UCSB counselors working around the clock

UC Santa Barbara counselors have been working around the clock to assist students at the school dealing with the fallout from Friday's tragic shooting

Jeanne Stanford, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of California Santa Barbara told KPCC she'd been working since 2 a.m. Saturday morning to assist counselors and students.

Members of the mental health community are working with UCSB's staff of 18 counselors to offer phone and in-person counseling, as well as going into student residential halls and apartments and "anywhere that students are gathering" in Isla Vista. 

Stanford said counselors are concentrating on quick check-ins with students, rather than in-depth sessions — although they will provide those services as well. 

"What's needed is a touching base, you know, making sure people are okay, making sure they know who to talk to," Stanford said. "It's something called a psychological first aid." 

Stanford, who has been at the school since 1995, said this was the second large school tragedy she's witnessed at the school. The first was in 2001, when a student intentionally ran down four others with his car. 

"I think that the tragedy brings us together," she said. "It give us a chance to really show our humanity, but also to show our resilience. I've been hear a long time as I said, but I just think that this is a wonderful community, and I'm really proud to be here."


Update 3:00 p.m.: Shooting victim Veronika Weiss' father 'She was everyone's daughter'

The father of Veronika Weiss, who was one of the victims shot near a sorority near UC Santa Barbara's campus said his daughter was a passionate student and athlete. 

Bob Weiss told KPCC his daughter often reached out to awkward young men who felt like outsiders at school. 

"It's ironic. She hung out with a lot of the scholarly students at school. Some of the boys, they gravitated to her -- not as boyfriend/girlfriend so much. If they were a nerdy kid who felt out of place, Veronika would welcome them," said Weiss.

"In my heart, I believe she was either doing one of two things when she was shot. She was either trying to help that boy, who was obviously under distress, pounding on the door. She was either trying to help that boy, or she was trying to help her friends." 

After a moment, he added, "She was probably trying to reach out to him., Because that's the kind of person she was."

Weiss detailed the agonizing trip up to the UC Santa Barbara campus, where he and his wife searched several hospitals, and then went to the crime scene, where they waited all night for news about their daughter. 

"We waited in our car until about sunrise," he said. At about 5 a.m., police escorted them to a nearby church where "a couple of pastors and a couple of sergeants...  confirmed that... Veronika was one of the shooting victims."

Weiss talked about Veronika's independence and drive as an athlete. Even as a 14-year-old, she pushed to let her parents allow her to play on a baseball team in a league where she was the only girl. "We tried to talk her out of it," Weiss said. "She insisted that she could do it. She did it, and she did well. "

Veronika went on to play varsity water polo for her school. At UC Santa Barbara, she was a math and economics double major. 

"She was everybody's daughter," Weiss said. "She was a wonderful citizen of this world, and we all lost something — you did, I did, the Rodger family did. We all lost a lot."

Veronika leaves between two brothers, one 17 and one 15, along with her parents and relatives in Seattle and Kansas.

You can listen to an extended clip of Weiss' interview with Sharon McNary above. 


Update 10:08 a.m.: Hashtags churn discussion on violence and gender on Twitter 

Seizing on a hashtag that had been trending for months, activists took to Twitter to vent their frustrations, to share experiences and discuss violence against women. 

The #NotAllMen hashtag had been used for months prior to Friday night's rampage — a hashtagged shorthand of an argument feminists say they hear all the time: that not all men are abusive or violent. 

Twitter: #NotAllMen

On Saturday, a rejoinder to the internet meme, #YesAllWomen went viral. The hashtag has been churning since last night with anecdotes and thoughts on sexual violence.  

Twitter: #YesAllWomen

Twitter: #YesAllWomen

Update 9:40 a.m.: Santa Barbara sheriff defends deputies' handling of Rodger investigation

Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown said Sunday that Elliot Rodger was able to convince deputies that concern about videos he'd posted online was part of a misunderstanding. Brown said on CBS' Face the Nation that Rodger "was able to make a very convincing story that there was no problem, that he wasn't going to hurt himself or anyone else. He just didn't meet the criteria for any further intervention at that point."

Brown said his department was looking into how Rodger was able to purchase several guns before the incident.  

"During the course of his interaction with medical health professionals he had apparently never been institutionalized or committed for an involuntary hold of any kind," Brown said. "And those are the two triggers that would have made him a prohibited person in terms of a firearms purchase."

You can watch the full interview on Face the Nation below:

Video: Santa Barbara sheriff Bill Brown defends sheriffs handling of Elliot Rodger

— KPCC staff

Update 9:25 a.m.: Hospital details injured victims' conditions

Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara says they're continuing to treat seven victims from Friday night's shooting rampage in Isla Vista. 

Trauma director Dr. Stephen Kaminski told KPCC that two are in 'good' condition and three are listed as in 'fair' condition. Two others remain in 'serious' condition.

Kaminsky said he could not release the victims' names or any other information about them, citing confidentiality laws.

— KPCC staff

'A pretty clear picture' emerges of intentions behind murder spree 

In YouTube videos and a long written manifesto, Elliot Rodger aired his contempt for everyone from his roommates to the whole human race, reserving special hate for two groups: the women he says kept him a virgin for all of his 22 years, and the men they chose instead.

Authorities said he put that bitterness into action in a stabbing and shooting rampage Friday night across the seaside California college town of Isla Vista that killed two young women and four men, at least half of them students at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Thirteen people were injured.

Rodger then apparently shot and killed himself inside the black BMW he used in the violence, authorities said Saturday.

The rampage played out largely as he laid it out in the public postings, including a YouTube video where he sits in the BMW in sunset light and appears to be acting out scripted lines and planned laughs.

"I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you," Rodger, the son of a Hollywood director who worked on "The Hunger Games," says in the video posted Friday and taken down by YouTube on Saturday with a message saying it violated the site's terms of service.

"I don't know why you girls are so repulsed by me," he says in the video, describing his loneliness and frustration at never having had sex with or even kissed a girl. "I am polite. I am the ultimate gentleman. And yet, you girls never give me a chance. I don't know why."

Of the men he sees as rivals, he said: "I deserve girls much more than all those slobs," and that after his rampage "you will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male."

Sheriff Bill Brown, appearing on CNN on Sunday said that investigators are tying up a few ends, but "for the most part, I think, we have a pretty clear picture of what happened "

The first three killed Friday were male stabbing victims in Rodger's own apartment whose names have not been released, Brown said Saturday.

Then, at about 9:30 p.m., the citywide shooting and vehicle-ramming rampage began.

His first stop was the Alpha Phi sorority, which he had called "the hottest sorority of UCSB."

"I know exactly where their house is and I've sat outside it in my car to stalk them many times," Rodger wrote in his extensive manifesto titled "My Twisted World."

No one answered the door after one to two minutes of aggressive pounding, but he soon shot three women who were standing nearby, killing two of them, 19-year-old Veronika Weiss, from Westlake Village, and 22-year-old Katherine Cooper, who graduated from Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills in 2010. 

He then drove to a deli where he walked inside and shot and killed another UC Santa Barbara student, 20-year-old Christopher Michaels-Martinez, the sheriff said.

"Chris was a really great kid," Michaels-Martinez's father said at a news conference where he choked back tears and eventually collapsed to his knees in agony. "Ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken."

Michaels-Martinez was the last one killed, but the rampage would continue as Rodger drove across Isla Vista, shooting at some and running down others with his car, twice exchanging gunfire with deputies. He was shot in the hip, but the gunshot to the head that killed him was thought to be self-inflicted, Brown said.

Thirteen people were injured, eight from gunshot wounds, four from the vehicle and one whose origin wasn't clear. Just four of the injuries were considered serious. Brown told CNN on Sunday that investigators were still finalizing next of kin notifications and positive identifications.

Deputies found three semi-automatic handguns with 400 unspent rounds in his black BMW. All were purchased legally.

Rodger had been a student at various times in recent years at nearby Santa Barbara City College, but was no longer in any classes, the school said in a statement.

Authorities had had three contacts with Rodger in the past year, including one case in which he claimed to be beaten but deputies suspected he was the aggressor.

On April 30, officials went to his Isla Vista apartment to check on him at the request of his family. But deputies reported back that he was shy, polite and having a difficult social life but did not need to be taken in for mental health reasons, Brown said. Rodger says in his manifesto: "If they had demanded to search my room... That would have ended everything. For a few horrible seconds I thought it was all over."

Attorney Alan Shifman said the Rodger family had called police after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people" that Elliot Rodger had been posting.

Brown called the tragedy "the work of a madman" and said the videotape posted by Rodger the night of the killings is a "particularly chilling one, in which he looks at the camera and talks about what he is about to do."

Brown told CNN that the mental health department had asked for a welfare check after one of Rodger's relatives expressed concern about him.

On Saturday, Shifman issued a statement saying Peter Rodger believed his son was the shooter. The family is staunchly against guns, he added.

"The Rodger family offers their deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy. We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain, and our hearts go out to everybody involved," Shifman said.

Isla Vista, a half-square-mile town centered on university life with outdoor cafes, bike shops, burger joints, sororities and fraternities, was shrouded in fog and unusually quiet Saturday.

Police tape crisscrossed Isla Vista streets, while blood was still visible on the asphalt. Bullet holes pierced windows of a parked car and the IV Deli Mart. A small shrine of flowers was growing outside the business, whose floors inside were stained with blood. For much of the day, the wrecked BMW driven by the shooter remained on the street, its windshield smashed in and its driver's door wide open.

UC Santa Barbara senior Kyley Scarlet said she heard the BMW smash to a halt outside a house she was in. Scarlet, who is a former sorority president, said two women from a sorority next door were killed on the lawn, where a pile of flowers grew on Saturday.

Crying students wandered up to the spot, shook their heads and hugged each other.

Scarlet said she was very disturbed by the video describing his anger at sorority girls.

"It's hard thinking my actions, being part of a sorority, led him to do this," she said.

Hundreds of students and members of the community gathered Saturday night to mourn the victims of the rampage. The large group quietly marched from the UC Santa Barbara campus to a park in Isla Vista, where a vigil was held.

The roommate of Michaels-Martinez, who was killed in the shooting, remembered his friend as a great writer and struggled to understand what had happened.

"You always think, 'Oh, that doesn't happen to me, that doesn't happen in my town. That's always just something on the news.' But that did happen and it's just, like, very overwhelming," Jeff Dolphin to KNBC-TV. "A lot of shock hasn't even settled.

— Associated Press

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the city in which KSBY TV is located.

With contributions from Martha Mendoza, Oskar Garcia, and Eric Zassenhaus

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