The parents of Elliott Rodger, the 22-year-old gunman who killed six people and himself in a deadly rampage near UC Santa Barbara on Friday, had contacted authorities last month after viewing their son’s disturbing YouTube videos. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, despite the early warning from Rodger’s parents, authorities did not see the online videos until after the attack, even after interviewing Rodger last month at the request of his parents.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday to explain: “Obviously, looking back on this, it’s a very tragic situation and we certainly wish that we could turn the clock back and maybe change some things. At the time deputies interacted with him, he was able to convince them that he was OK.”
According to the report, California law allows for emergency psychiatric evaluations for people deemed to pose a “serious threat,” but in this case, Rodger slipped through the cracks.
Doris A. Fuller, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, said in a statement: “In this case, the red flags were so big the killer’s parents had called police… and yet the system failed.”
According to the report, Rodger uploaded at least 22 videos to YouTube in the weeks before the attack. It was not immediately clear which of the videos caused his parents to contact authorities.
On Saturday, University of California president Janet Napolitano issued a statement, saying that the deadly attack was “almost the kind of event that’s impossible to prevent and impossible to predict.”
Compounding the unpredictability of the attack, Breitbart News reported on Saturday that Rodger legally purchased all three guns used in the shooting spree, which means he must have completed a successful background check.
“We have determined that all three of the weapons were legally purchased from federally licensed firearms dealers and they were all registered to the suspect,” Sheriff Bill Brown said in a press conference on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that Rodger’s parents were tipped off to the attack about 20 minutes before it began, and were “racing” to Isla Vista to confront their son when they heard reports of a shooting on the radio while in the car.