Virgin killer’s parents read his hate-filled manifesto then called the police and rushed to stop him when they heard of murder spree on their car radio
- Elliot Rodger had emailed the 140-page document to a couple of dozen people including his parents
- Mother received it hours before he went on his shooting rampage Friday
- She then went on to her son’s YouTube page where she found the newly uploaded video titled ‘Retribution’
- Earlier, killer’s father spoke of the family’s ‘inconceivable pain’
- Peter Rodger, who helped direct Hunger Games, offers victims sympathy
- Says family called police weeks ago after Elliot put sinister videos online
- But officers sent to check on his mental health hadn’t seen the videos
- Revealed Elliot was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism
- Elliot lived in luxury California home with family and drove black BMW
- Grandmother said he was ‘very disturbed’ and had mental health issues
The parents of Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger had read his chilling manifesto and were frantically trying to stop their son carry out his plan when they heard of the massacre on the radio, it emerged Sunday.
The 22-year-old had emailed the 140-page document to a couple of dozen people including his parents and at least one of his therapists just hours before he went on his shooting rampage Friday night, family friend Simon Astaire told CNN.
Lichin Rodger, the suspect’s mother, reportedly received the email at 9.17pm and immediately went on to her son’s YouTube page where she found the newly uploaded video titled ‘Retribution’ which describes his plan of ‘slaughtering’ women at a sorority house at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
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Warning: Peter Rodger, left, and Lichin Rodger, right, the parents of Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger, had read his chilling manifesto before the slaughter
Evidence: ATF officers leave the home of Lichin ‘Chin’ Rodger, mother of Elliot Rodger, in West Hills, California Sunday
According to CNN, Mrs Rodger then alerted her estranged husband, Peter, and after he watched the video she called 911. The former couple then set off from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to try find their son.
But they were too late, and, according to Mr Astaire, they heard about the shooting en route.
Later that night, their worst fears were confirmed when they were told their son was behind the massacre that left six victims dead and 13 injured.
The new details come as detectives searched the home of Mrs Rodger Sunday, carrying out boxes of evidence.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officers were pictured leaving her West Hills, California, home after conducting a search that included the bins.
Media swarmed the officers as they walked back to their cars but they stated that they couldn’t answer any questions.
Search: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were seen at the property of Lichin conducting a search that included the bins
No details: Media swarmed the officers as they walked back to their cars but they stated that they couldn’t answer any questions
Mr Astaire told CNN that the killer’s parents thought a run in with police in April could have been a lost opportunity to prevent the bloodshed.
After Mrs Rodger came across his YouTube videos in April, she called one of his therapists, who then called a Santa Barbara mental health hotline, Astaire said.
A woman on the hotline called police to check on him and six policemen showed up at his house in Isla Vista on April 30.
But, crucially, it has now emerged that they hadn’t seen the videos even though those recordings were what prompted his parents to call authorities.
They reported back to the Sheriff that they found nothing alarming and called his mother to reassured her that he was OK.
Elliot Rodger’s parents now believe that well-being check was a ‘pivotal moment’ and they are frustrated, Mr Astaire said, describing it as a ‘missed opportunity’ to find out what was wrong.
A woman places flowers on the lawn of the Alpha Phi sorority house where Rodger shot three women nearby
Mourners pass a makeshift memorial outside the IV Deli in Isla Vista where one of Rodger’s victims was shot
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the sheriff’s office ‘was not aware of any videos until after the shooting rampage occurred.’
Sheriff Bill Brown has defended the officers’ actions, but the case highlights the challenges that police face in assessing the mental health of adults, particularly those with no history of violent breakdowns, institutionalisations or serious crimes.
‘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,’ Brown told CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday.
‘At the time deputies interacted with him, he was able to convince them that he was OK,’ he said.
It’s not clear why the deputies did not become aware of the videos.
Rodger, writing in a manifesto, said he was relieved his apartment wasn’t searched because deputies would have uncovered the cache of weapons he used in the beach town rampage Friday in which he killed six people and then, authorities say, himself.
This comes as the aunt of British born murderer Elliot Rodger made an impassioned appeal on Sunday to Barack Obama and the U.S. authorities to ‘Stop the slaughter.’
Jenni Rodger, 55, who lives in south west France, said: ‘He was a sick kid – somebody who was seriously mentally disturbed – and yet he was able to get hold of guns.’
Ms Rodger said such attacks had become all too frequent in a country where weapons can be bought with ease – even by students.
Students gathered for a candlelight vigil on the University of California Santa Barbara to remember those killed during Rodger’s massacre
Two students comfort each other during a candlelight vigil held to honor the victims of the shooting
‘What kind of a society allows this?’ said Ms Rodger. ‘How can this be allowed to happen? I want to appeal to Americans to do something about this horrific problem.
‘I want the president and the authorities to finally stop these killings. The only possible good thing that can come out of all this is America finally taking action.’
Ms Rodger said she had only met Elliot three times, and the last time ‘a few years ago and only for a few minutes.’
But she knew that he was ‘extremely sick, and had no friends at all.’ Ms Rodger added: ‘He did not seem to have any kind of support network. He was on medication
‘Even as a small child he was obsessed with folding and refolding his clothes, and he never used to laugh. I never heard of him ever having a friend.’
Ms Rodger, who lives in Cazals, not far from Toulouse, said the shooter’s grandmother Lois, 88, of Ashford, Kent, was ‘in grief’ at the news.
‘I can’t get my head around it. The whole family is in absolute shock – we don’t know where to turn.
‘You can see from the pictures on TV that Elliot did not even look 22 – and yet he was still able to get hold of those guns.’
Elliot Rodger (left) is pictured at the Hunger Games premiere with his father Peter (right). Peter has spoken of his ‘inconceivable pain’ after learning his son was responsible for shooting six people dead
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.
Earlier, Peter Rodger spoke of his ‘inconceivable pain’ following his son’s rampage that ended in him taking his own life.
In a statement issued through his lawyer Alan Shifman, Mr Rodger said: ‘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.’
Mr Shifman added that family called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos ‘regarding suicide and the killing of people’ that Elliot had been posting.
Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a ‘perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human,’ he added.
Mr Rodger added that the family are staunchly against guns, saying he had no idea how his son got hold of a firearm.
With his hair dyed blonde, Elliot recalled being the smallest kid in his class at Topanga Elementary School
Police did not find a history of guns, but did say Rodger ‘didn’t have a lot of friends,’ and didn’t have any girlfriends.
He was diagnosed at an earlier age with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism meaning he had difficulties with social interaction.
Mr Astaire said he’d been seeing therapists on and off since he was 8 years old and during high school met with one ‘pretty much every day.’
Recently, Rodgers was seeing two therapists, Mr Astaire told CNN, describing the young man as ‘reserved to a daunting degree’ but never showed any fascination with guns. He had legally bought all three weapons used int he rampage, law enforcement sources told CNN.
He said Perth Rodgers told him a week ago that the boy was doing well ‘at the moment.’
Elliot Rodger was living with roommates at the Independent Living Institute in Santa Barbara, a facility that offers ‘living skills instruction to help adults with disabilities to live more independently in their communities,’ according to the website.
Mr Shifman added: ‘My clients’ mission in life will be to try and prevent any such tragedies from ever happening again.
‘This country, this world needs to address mental illness and the ramifications from not recognizing these illnesses.’
On the surface Elliot appeared to have everything, but he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism meaning he struggled in social situations
On the surface, Elliot had everything a young man in his prime could wish for: loving, wealthy parents, a luxury family home in California, the chance to mix with Hollywood A-listers, and a sleek BMW at the age of just 22.
But beneath the sun-kissed lifestyle, a desperate loneliness and sexual frustration were gnawing away and would finally drive him to the madness of his horrific, premeditated mass murder.
The recurring theme of his inner torment is evident in numerous disturbing videos he put out on YouTube and social network postings as he increasingly seemed to spend more time living his life in cyberspace rather than in the real world.
Time after time, he talked of his inability to get a girlfriend, confessing that even though he had been through college, he had never kissed a girl, let alone had sex.
A picture emerged of a troubled young man whose fellow students were enjoying the hedonistic lifestyle of surfing, spring breaks and sorority parties, while he was left out, later undergoing therapy.
Elliot’s grandfather, George Rodger, covered the D-Day landings and later founded Magnum photo agency
Over time, his pitiful plea for companionship and sex developed a darker edge until the point where he promised ‘retribution’ on women in general.
Two years ago, on his YouTube channel, Rodger set the tone for what was to come, posting a video of fellow students partying in Isla Vista, the town where he studied at University of California, Santa Barbara, where it is believed he was studying politics and philosophy.
In an accompanying comment, he wrote: ‘It angers me so much to see these people having so much fun here.
‘I’m the perfect sophisticated gentleman, but these heartless girls only like to be with the obnoxious douchebags.’
Around a year ago he began posting on an internet forum called Puahate – a site describing itself as the ‘Anti-Pickup-Artist Movement’ and offers advice to men on how to pick up women.
For his first post he wrote: ‘Revenge is something to live for’ on a thread titled ‘I have nothing to live for.’
As Rodger’s ‘vlogs’ or video blogs, became more and more chilling, his worried family asked him to remove some of them from the internet only three weeks ago.
A good-looking boy, it is impossible to say what caused Rodger’s problem with women, but apart from his parents’ divorce, there are no clues in his background as to the deeply troubled loner he would become.
He was born in August 1991 in Lambeth, South London, the scion of a family steeped in photography and the cinema.
His Malaysian-born mother Li Chin, now 53, and film director father Peter, 49, moved to America’s West Coast when Elliot was five and his younger sister Georgia only a baby.
Elliot’s grandfather, British photographer George Rodger, was one of the founders of the renowned Magnum photo agency, and covered the D-Day landings in 1944.
He was also the first photographer to enter the concentration camps at Bergen-Belsen, an experience which left a lasting impression on him, according to his widow Lois ‘Jinx’ Rodger, herself a journalist and picture editor.
Speaking from her home in Kent, Elliot’s grandmother, 89, explained that he had suffered mental health issues for some time.
She said: ‘He was a very disturbed boy. He lived in California but of course I’d known him. This is just one of those very tragic things. I don’t want to talk about it any more. This is a rather difficult time.’
Peter Rodger loved helping his father on jobs and soon picked up the passion for photography. His own career began in advertising, filming and photographing commercials for cosmetics, cars and clothing.
Elliot, who was born in Lambeth, South London, came back to visit three years ago on a trip that took in the London Eye, Harrods and the Houses of Parliament
Yesterday, a family friend told The Mail on Sunday that Peter and Lichin divorced soon after moving to the US and Peter later married Soumaya Akaaboune, a French actress of Moroccan-French descent who appeared in Hollywood blockbuster Green Zone.
She was once married to Jamie Harris, son of the late screen legend Richard Harris.
Elliot’s early life was spent in Calabasas in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley, on the edge of Los Angeles.
He recalled in one Facebook posting ‘being the smallest kid in the class’ when he was photographed at Topanga Elementary School near his home, aged seven, in 1998.
His naturally dark hair seemed to have been dyed blond.
While Elliot’s father only became a big player in Hollywood relatively recently, it’s clear his mother may also have been well-connected from a photograph taken in the late 1980s, showing Michael Jackson, along with Harrison Ford and Star Wars director George Lucas, who has his arm around Li Chin.
– Elliot Rodger
Peter Rodger’s own breakthrough into Hollywood came in 2009, when Elliot was aged 17, with the release of his film documentary Oh My God, featuring Ringo Starr, Hugh Jackman and Baz Luhrmann and their views on organised religion.
But he made it clear that the success had been achieved at some price to his family life.
The project took Peter to 23 countries and he said in an interview that the previous three years had been tough on his family. He included Elliot in the on-screen credits, along with his sister Georgia.
He said: ‘I put my family through a lot of difficulties making this film because I was away a long time.’
Of children, added: ‘Kids are the purest form of humans. It’s when the influences around them start affecting them – their parents, their schools, their society, their culture, their country, their belief systems – that they start to become the people they are.
‘I find children to be ultimately pure in heart. If you are looking for Godliness surely you are going to find Godliness in children.’
Six people died and seven were injured on Friday after Elliot opened fire in a student neighbourhood before turning the gun on himself
Peter Rodger became assistant director on the 2012 blockbuster The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence.
Elliot was photographed at the film’s Hollywood premiere alongside his father, stepmother, and Sylvester Stallone.
By then, he was enrolled at University of California, Santa Barbara, but he made it clear in one of his earlier, more poignant, blogs, he hated university life – because he felt so excluded from its social life.
In one of Elliot’s more recent videos, he said that he was happiest during his childhood when things were more ‘fair’, though what exactly he meant wasn’t clear.
Elliot was able to afford a trip to London three years ago, taking in the Houses of Parliament, Harrods and the London Eye, posting photos online.
But by January last year it was clear his social rejection had fuelled hatred in him when he wrote: ‘If you could release a virus that would kill every single man on Earth, except for yourself because you would have the antidote, would you do it?
‘You will be the only man left, with all the females. You would be able to have your pick of any beautiful woman you want, as well as having dealt vengeance on the men who took them from you. Imagine how satisfying that would be.’
By June, he wrote: ‘Once women are brought to their knees, things can be reformed. The sooner this happens, the better.’
Three months ago, he started posting YouTube videos. Again, they started innocuously – ‘Enjoying the sunset in Santa Barbara’ and ‘Awesome view of LA from a landing airplane’.
Last month, a photo on Facebook showed Elliot with his father and step-brother Jazz on a garden swingseat. The body language spoke volumes. While the younger boy and his father embraced, Elliot sat sulking at the end of the seat.
Then in the last week or so, he ramped up his YouTube activity and started talking about how he hated women in his videos.
Widely ridiculed, he had become a mini celebrity on the Puahate site.
Saying goodbye to Puahate he wrote: ‘You’re all jealous of my 10/10 pretty-boy face. This site is full of stupid, disgusting, mentally ill degenerates who take pleasure in putting down others.
‘That is all I have to say on here. Goodbye.’
Additional reporting Chris Hastings and Mark Nicol
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