On May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California, Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, before committing suicide.
The attack began when 22-year-old Rodger stabbed three men to death in his apartment. Afterward, he drove to a sorority house and shot three female students outside, killing two. He drove to a nearby deli and shot to death a male student who was inside. He began to speed through Isla Vista, shooting and wounding several pedestrians and striking several others with his car. Rodger exchanged gunfire with police twice during the attack, receiving a non-fatal gunshot to the hip. The rampage ended when his car crashed into a parked vehicle and came to a stop. Police found him dead in the car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Before driving to the sorority house, Rodger uploaded a video to YouTube, titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”, in which he outlined details of his upcoming attack and his motives. He said he wanted to punish women for rejecting him and to punish sexually active men for living a more enjoyable life than his.
After uploading the video, Rodger e-mailed a lengthy autobiographical manuscript to approximately a dozen acquaintances and family members. The document, which he titled “My Twisted World”, was made available on the Internet and became widely known as his “manifesto”. In it, he described his childhood, family conflicts, frustration over not being able to find a girlfriend, his hatred of women, his contempt for racial minorities and interracial couples, and his plans for what he described as “retribution”.
Rodger began his attacks at his apartment in Seville Road, where three men were found dead inside. Each victim had received multiple stab wounds, and all had been killed approximately three hours before the shooting spree. Their bodies were found the day following the shootings. They were identified as Rodger’s roommates, Weihan Wang and Cheng Hong, and a friend named George Chen.
Faint bloodstains in the main hallway of the apartment indicate at least one of the victims had been attacked as he entered the apartment. Authorities later said that the presence of a blood-soaked bath towel and paper towels in the bathroom suggest Rodger had attempted to clean the hallway after each murder. The bodies of Wang and Hong were found in their shared bedroom, whereas Chen’s body was found in the bathroom. The positioning of the bodies suggested each victim had entered the apartment separately before being murdered, and that Rodger had made efforts to conceal the bodies of the first two victims by covering them with blankets, towels, and clothing. Police removed a knife, a hammer, and two machetes from the apartment, but they later determined that two knives recovered from a backpack found in Rodger’s car were the weapons used to kill the apartment victims.
Less than two hours preceding the shooting spree, Rodger went to a Starbucks coffee shop, where he purchased some coffee. He was later seen sitting in his car in the parking lot of his apartment building at about 8:30 p.m., working on his laptop. He uploaded the “Retribution” video at 9:17 p.m., and sent his manifesto e-mail at 9:18 p.m.
Rodger drove to the Alpha Phi sorority house at Embarcadero del Norte and Segovia Road near the University of California Santa Barbara. He knocked on the sorority house door for a few minutes. After no one answered, he began shooting people who were nearby. He first shot three Delta Delta Delta sorority sisters, killing two of them and wounding the third. Responding sheriff’s deputies and nearby pedestrians ran to the victims and tried to tend to their wounds before ambulances arrived.
After returning to his car, Rodger drove two blocks onto Pardall Road and fired once at a coffee shop as he went eastbound. The shop was closed and unoccupied at the time, and no one was injured by the gunshot. He then arrived at the Isla Vista Deli Mart and fired several gunshots into the building, fatally shooting a student inside. His car was seen leaving the scene by four responding foot-patrol officers, but they did not identify him as the shooter.
He drove south on Embarcadero del Norte on the wrong side of the street, striking a pedestrian crossing the street and firing at two others on the sidewalk but missing both. Embarcadero del Norte curves near a 7-Eleven convenience store, forming “The Loop”, where he continued firing, hitting a couple exiting a pizzeria and then a female bicyclist. Rodger drove south on El Embarcadero and shot at and missed a woman, turned east on Del Playa Drive, then made a U-turn and drove west, where he exchanged fire with a sheriff’s deputy, who was responding to a 9:27 p.m. 9-1-1 call, and struck two pedestrians. Students at the Isla Vista Church, on Del Playa near Camino del Sur, were finishing a worship service at the time and heard gunfire.
Turning north on Camino del Sur, Rodger shot and wounded three people at Sabado Tarde, and also struck a skateboarder and two bicyclists with his car. Turning east on Sabado Tarde, he struck a skateboarder with his car and shot two other men at the intersection with Camino Pescadero. On Sabado Tarde near Little Acorn Park, he again exchanged gunfire, this time with three sheriff’s deputies, and was shot in the left hip. Pursued by police, Rodger turned south a second time on El Embarcadero, then west again on Del Playa. He struck a bicyclist, then crashed on the north sidewalk just east of the intersection of Del Playa and Camino Pescadero.
Police found Rodger dead inside his vehicle from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. He killed a total of six other people, and wounded fourteen others.