Peter Rodger Tells Barbara Walters He Didn't See His Son's Massacre In Isla Vista Coming
This is Rodger’s first interview since his son murdered six people and injured 13 more before killing himself on May 23. He’s released statements and was seen embracing one of the victim’s fathers, with whom he intends to work to prevent future tragedies, but this is the first time the Hollywood director appears on video.
In the clip, Walters asks Rodgers how he is, and he responds,
“Every night I go to sleep. I wake up and I think of those young men and young women that have died, and who were injured and were terrorized, and my son did that. My son caused so much pain and suffering for so many families.”
He says his life is like a "reverse nightmare situation," where instead of waking up from a bad dream, he wakes up into a horrible reality.
He also tells Walters that he never thought Elliot “could hurt a flea. I mean, this is the most unbelievable thing, Barbara. What I don’t get is we didn’t see this coming at all.”
Rodger was a director who had worked on The Hunger Games, and his son even attended the premiere. Rodger was divorced from Elliot's mother and married to actress Soumaya Akaaboune, with whom he had one son, Jazz.
In Elliot Rodger’s 140-page manifesto, he not only detailed his frustration with being a virgin and not attracting women, but also showed an escalating pattern of violence against the women he couldn’t have and the men he envied. This included throwing coffee on women who didn’t acknowledge him, attempting to push a group of young men and women off a ledge and fantasizing about the killings long before they happened. In his plans, he even accounted for when Rodger wouldn't be home so that he could murder Akaaboune and his younger brother Jazz without having to kill his father.
It’s hard to say if Rodger or Elliot’s mother, Chin Rodger, saw it coming or not. One thing that is clear is that they had previously alerted authorities to their son’s disturbing online videos in April. In the manifesto, Elliot wrote about how police had come to speak with him, but found him “polite” and did not search his room. If they had, they would have found the guns he was planning to use in the attack.
"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.
And on the night of the massacre, Rodger’s parents rushed to Santa Barbara—too late, unfortunately—after his therapist told them about an alarming email from Elliot.
The entire interview with Barbara Walters airs Friday at 10 p.m. on ABC.