sent deputies to Elliot Rodger's door just weeks before Friday
night's shooting rampage has raised questions about whether police
could have done more to prevent the attack.
Rodger's mother asked deputies on April 30 to check on him at his
apartment in the town of Isla Vista, near the University of
California at Santa Barbara, after she saw videos he had posted on
the Internet that she found disturbing.
Recounting that visit in a 140-page manifesto he sent to friends and
relatives shortly before the shooting began, Rodger, the son of a
Hollywood film director, said that if the seven deputies at his door
had searched his room, they would have found the firearms he had
hidden there and denied him the chance to carry out his violent
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown has said that deputies found
Rodger to be polite and courteous during the encounter and that he
did not appear to meet the criteria to be held on mental health
On Monday, sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover declined to discuss
that visit in greater detail, pending an internal investigation, but
said that deputies in general were barred from entering a residence
without a warrant.
"An exception would be if deputies felt that a person was a harm to
themselves or others or there was an immediate threat," Hoover said.
"In this case, we would have had to determine that Elliot Rodger or
his roommates were in immediate danger."
Authorities say Rodger fatally stabbed three people in his apartment
before shooting three people to death near the University of
California at Santa Barbara. He then shot himself.
The two women and four men who were killed were aged 19 to 22 and
students at the school. Thirteen people were wounded, including
eight shot by Rodger as he sped through town in his black BMW,
exchanging fire with police, authorities said.
'HE WAS JUST VERY QUIET'
Officers found Rodger dead in his car with three legally purchased
pistols and more than 400 rounds of ammunition.
Chris Pollard, who lived in the same building as Rodger and knew him
before the attacks, told Reuters in an interview that the videos
that had concerned his mother should have been red flags for the
"When it got to the point that the parents called the police, it
makes me wonder if the police even looked at the videos," Pollard,
22, said. "If they'd looked at the videos, they could've done some
sort of court order to do a search warrant."
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But the young man conceded that deputies would have needed legal
grounds to search Rodger or his home and may not have found that
justification during their visit to his apartment.
"When you looked at him, there was no reason to get concerned. He
didn't seem like a threatening or intimidating guy. He was just very
quiet," Pollard said.
David Dusenbury, a former deputy chief of police in Long Beach,
California, said the deputies could have obtained a warrant if the
video explicitly threatened violence.
"If the caller said they feared he was going to harm somebody or
himself based upon Internet postings, I would say the deputies did
not go far enough in their investigation," Dusenbury said.
He said that deputies could also have run Rodger through their
system to learn he had guns registered in his name
The deadly rampage has left the communities of Isla Vista and Santa
Barbara reeling. A spokeswoman for Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
said four of the wounded were in good condition and one was in fair
condition.The University of California at Santa Barbara, which is
headed into its final exams, canceled classes on Tuesday for a day
of mourning. The Isla Vista killings are the latest in a series of
U.S. mass murders carried out by mentally ill attackers, including
the December 2012 killings of 26 people at a Connecticut elementary
(Additional reporting by Brandon Lowrey; Writing by Ian Simpson and
Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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