Knew Of California Gunman's Videos, But Did Not View Them
Send a link to a friend
[May 30, 2014]
By Curtis Skinner
(Reuters) - Police officers who visited
Elliot Rodger just weeks before he went on a shooting rampage that left
six dead and more than a dozen injured knew of disturbing videos he
posted online, but did not check them, officials said on Thursday.
A new timeline released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's
Office shows police responded to a welfare check phoned in by a
county mental health worker the night of April 30 and found a shy,
timid but polite Rodger outside his apartment.
Four sheriffs' deputies, a University of California at Santa Barbara
police officer and a dispatcher in training asked Rodger during the
10-minute encounter about the videos he had posted online, but he
said they were simply a way of expressing himself as he was having
trouble fitting in socially.
"Sheriff’s deputies concluded that Rodger was not an immediate
threat to himself or others, and that they did not have cause to
place him on an involuntary mental health hold, or to enter or
search his residence," the sheriff's office said in the statement.
"Therefore, they did not view the videos or conduct a weapons check
A deputy called Rodger's mother and briefed her on the situation,
then gave the phone to Rodger who told her everything was fine and
that he would call her later, the statement said. The officers gave
Rodger information on local support services and left.
"The sheriff’s office has determined that the deputies who responded
handled the call in a professional manner consistent with state law
and department policy," it added.
Typically only two deputies respond to mental welfare calls, but a
few unassigned officers showed up due to their experience with
Rodger in a petty theft case, the statement said.
Chris Pollard, 22, a neighbor of Rodger's interviewed by Reuters
after the shootings, described watching the latter's videos, titled,
"Spring break sucks when you're lonely," and "My reaction to seeing
a couple at the beach...envy," and posted around that time. "It was
a clear cry for help," said Pollard, adding that he had found the
videos too disturbing to watch in their entirety.
[to top of second column]
But it was unlikely the police could have done more during their
check, he said. "I mean, how far can you go without violating
somebody's rights?" Pollard said. "When you looked at (Rodger),
there was no reason to get concerned. He didn't seem like a
threatening or intimidating guy. He was just very quiet."
The Sheriff's Office statement also gave new details of the night of
the killings. The sheriff's office said authorities learned of the
"Retribution" video and the 137-page manifesto roughly an hour after
That video was uploaded to YouTube at 9:17 p.m. PST (0417 GMT) the
night of the shootings, and Rodger emailed the manifesto to his
parents, therapist and several others a minute later. The first
gunshots were reported at 9:27 p.m., and the rampage had ended 20
The statement described the case as one of the most complex in the
county's history, adding that the investigation was continuing. The
sheriff's office said it would be making no further information
(Additional reporting by Dana Feldman,; Editing by Clarence
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.