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Alarming Email Prompted Elliot Rodger's Parents To Rush To Isla Vista During Massacre

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The mother of Elliot Rodger, the young man who killed six U.C. Santa Barbara students before taking his own life, opened an email—including the rambling manifesto —from her son on Friday evening, prompting her and her ex-husband to hurry to the scene of the tragedy.

The LA Times spoke to a family friend who said Chin Rodger's therapist told her to check her email just after 9 p.m, "Have you gotten Elliot’s email? I think you should see it." After seeing the email, Rodger then "immediately checked Elliot’s YouTube channel, where he had posted bizarre videos about how alienated he felt, particularly from women" (transcript of the "Retribution" video) and called her ex-husband to alert him. The friend, Simon Astaire, told the Times that both Chin Rodger and Peter Rodger rushed to Isla Vista, with Chin Rodger "call[ing] either 911 or the sheriff directly, and arranged to meet with authorities when they arrived."

As they drove up the 101 Freeway, they heard news of a shooting in Isla Vista on the radio. Elliot is accused of killing six people before taking his own life. Chin called Elliot’s therapist, who told her it was unrelated. He said Elliot promised retribution the following day, and his nature was to stick to such details. By the time Chin and her ex-husband reached the police station, officers confirmed it was their son, and that he and six others were dead by his hand. Astaire said he didn’t have the words to describe their emotions.

Astaire said that Elliot Rodger was never diagnosed with Asperger's (his family "suspected he was on the spectrum"), had no friends, and was very shy. Astaire told the Times, "He was fundamentally withdrawn. The guy on the video was much more confident. That is a guy I never met."Elliot Rodger's parents had alerted authorities to his disturbing behavior in April, prompting Santa Barbara County deputies to check up on him. However, Elliot Rodger managed to reassure them that he was only having some problems with his social life, and deputies found him "polite." In his manifesto,
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Rodger wrote, "If they had demanded to search my room ... (t)hat would have ended everything. For a few horrible seconds, I thought it was all over.... [T]he police would have searched my room, found all of my guns and weapons, along with my writings about what I plan to do with them. I would have been thrown in jail, denied of the chance to exact revenge on my enemies. I can't imagine a hell darker than that.

Sheriff Bill Brown said yesterday, "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. It's very apparent that he was able to convince many people for many years that he didn't have this deep, underlying obvious mental illness that also manifested itself in this terrible tragedy."

As for the 22-year-old's ability to buy three guns and hundreds of rounds of ammo, Brown said, "During the course of his interaction with mental health professionals, he apparently had never been either institutionalized or committed for an involuntarily hold of any kind. And those are the two triggers that actually would have made him a prohibited person in terms of a fire arms purchase. So he was able, sadly, to obtain those three firearms."

Yesterday, authorities identified three victims who were found in Rodger's apartment. They were Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, George Chen, 19, and Weihan Wang, 20. Hong and Chen were Rodger's roommates; it's unclear if Wang was also a roommate or if he was just visited. The three men were stabbed multiple times. Earlier in the year, Rodger had accused Hong of stealing $22 of candles from him; deputies arrested Hong. Rodger described his roommates as being "utterly repulsive" in his manifesto, "I would have to kill my roommates to get them out of the way. If they were pleasant to live with, I would regret having to kill them, but due to their behavior I now have no regrets about such a prospect."

The other three victims were Katherine Cooper, 22, and Veronika Weiss, 19, two Delta Delta Delta members who were killed outside the Alpha Phi sorority house and Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20, was killed at the IV Deli Mart. Michael-Martinez's father Richard Martinez said,"Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don't think it will happen to your child until it does... Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the (National Rifle Association). They talk about gun rights -- what about Chris' right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say stop this madness, we don't have to live like this? Too many have died. We should say to ourselves -- not one more."

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However, a gun rights attorney said to the LA Times, "California's got pretty much every gun control law the gun control lobby wants, and it didn't stop this."

Related:
The Victims Of The Horrific Isla Vista Mass Killings