Deputies knew about Isla Vista killer's videos during welfare check

ByColeen Sullivan and Carollyn Nguyen KABC logo
Friday, May 30, 2014
Elliot Rodger is seen in this undated file photo.
Elliot Rodger is seen in this undated file photo.

ISLA VISTA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department on Thursday released additional information on the welfare check of the man behind the Isla Vista massacre.

The department says deputies checking on 22-year-old Elliot Rodger weeks before he killed six college students were aware of but didn't view disturbing videos that prompted calls about his well-being. They also didn't conduct a weapons check.

Investigators say four deputies went to Rodger's apartment on April 30 after being informed by the county's mental health hotline that Rodger's therapist and mother were concerned about videos he posted online. Deputies say Rodger told them he was having trouble fitting in and that the videos were merely a way of expressing himself.

They questioned him for 10 minutes and then briefed Rodger's mother by telephone before having him speak to her directly. They said Rodger appeared shy, timid and polite and that he did not meet criteria to be taken into custody.

Deputies also did not know about Rodger's manifesto until 10:26 p.m. last Friday, which was after the killing spree had already started.

Rodger's parents on Thursday issued a statement through a friend, saying they are "crying out in pain for the victims and their families." They also say it is "hell on earth" knowing it was their son's actions that caused the tragedy. The two raced to Isla Vista Friday night after learning of Rodger's plans, but it was too late.

Rodger is accused of fatally stabbing 19-year-old George Chen, 20-year-old Weihan Wang, and 20-year-old Yuan Hong in his apartment. He then fatally shot 19-year-old Veronika Weiss, 22-year-old Katie Cooper and 20-year-old Christopher Michaels-Martinez before shooting himself. He also injured 13 people.

Meantime, Rodger's former roommate Chris Rugg is revealing chilling warning signs about Rodger.

Rugg says he had a brief conversation with Rodger the day he moved in and says at first he thought Rodger was shy. Those thoughts changed into concern for his safety during the course of the school year.

"Throughout the year, there was a few conversations here and there but he mostly kept to himself," said Rugg.

Rugg says he and his roommate invited Rodger out on several occasions but that Rodger choose to stay in his room -- something he did most of the time.

"It just seemed that he didn't really have anyone that he was close to," said Rugg.

Rugg says, at night, Rodger would be on the phone a lot. He wasn't sure who Rodger was talking to but said the calls were getting more and more disturbing.

"He would talk about the things that aren't going well in school and things just weren't working out," said Rugg. "He talked about how he would go out and see all these girls hanging out with the guys and he couldn't understand what exactly they were attracted to and how he would try and do the same thing but it never seemed to work out."

Near the time Rugg was moving out, he learned Rodger had a gun but found out in Rodger's manifesto that he had purchased the gun earlier than he thought and that their other roommate was aware of the weapon.

"He said that (Rodger) would click the gun over and over. And the way the room is set could see the silhouette of everything that's going on there," said Rugg.

Rugg says when he learned about the stabbings and shooting, he wasn't surprised Rodger was the suspect.

"It's a weird experience thinking back to it, but knowing what I did at the time, I felt that he had fit the profile for someone who would, so it's not surprising in that sense," said Rugg.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.