At least seven are dead, with more hospitalized for injuries, following a tragic shooting in the college community of Isla Vista, Calif. last night. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says the suspect is one of the dead.
Police say the drive-by shooting began at approximately 9:27 p.m. near the campuses of UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. The incident continued to nine separate crime scenes, before the deputies engaged in gunfire with the suspected gunman and he crashed into a parked vehicle.
Police say the suspect was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. "At this point, it is unknown if the gunshot was self-inflicted or if the suspect was shot by a deputy," a statement reads. "A semi-automatic handgun was recovered in the vehicle."
Today, NewsChannel 3 "witnessed forensics experts removing three bodies" from the suspect's apartment. "There is no confirmation from authorities whether this latest discovery increases the number of people killed," they report.
Police have not officially released the name of the suspect (they do say, "It appears the suspect acted alone"), but the gunman is suspected to be 22-year-old Elliot Rodger of Calabasas, Cali., son of Peter Rodger, a second unit director for The Hunger Games.
Through their attorney, Alan Shifman, the family confirmed they "believe" that Elliot "was the perpetrator," though Shifman continued that, "Police would not tell us with 100 percent certainty"
In the wake of the shooting, a YouTube channel belong to Elliot Rodger surfaced, including a video called "Elliot Rodger's Retribution," in which a young man films himself talking about his "loneliness" and "rejection" and promising "retribution."
NewsChannel 3 also obtained a 140-page manifesto reportedly written by Elliot, entitled "My Twisted World." It is excerpted as reading, "On the day before the Day of Retribution, I will start the First Phase of my vengeance."
"The Sheriff's Office has obtained and is currently analyzing written and video evidence that suggests this was a pre-meditated mass murder," Santa Barbara's Sheriff's Department said in its statement.
Shifman (via BBC) said that Elliot has "highly functional Asperger's syndrome" and claimed that Elliot's "contacted the police and a social worker after a YouTube video was posted recently." He says police found Elliot to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human."
"The Rodger's family offers our deepest compassion and sympathies to the families involved in this terrible tragedy," the family said. "We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain and our hearts go out to everyone involved."