Police say British-born Elliot Rodger went on a stabbing and shooting rampage across the seaside California college town of Isla Vista that killed two young women and four men, at least half of them students at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Thirteen people were injured.
Rodger, 22, who had Asperger’s syndrome, then apparently shot and killed himself inside the black BMW he used in the violence.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told CNN that are finalising notification of next of kin and working to positively identify the victims.
Sheriff Brown told CNN that investigators have been in contact with Rodger’s parents. Rodger was the son of a Hollywood director who worked on The Hunger Games.
The killings began at 9.30pm local time on Friday night when Rodger first stabbed three people to death at his apartment before going on to shoot three more.
Police described how Rodger went from one location to another, opening fire on random people and exchanging fire with police before he crashed his BMW. Sheriff Brown said Rodger had more than 400 rounds of unspent ammunition in the car.
The gunfire continued for 10 minutes as Rodger made his way through the beach community in the town of Isla Vista, in a rampage that mirrored threats made on a YouTube video posted the same night.
Seven people are in hospital with serious injuries.
After Rodger was found dead, authorities said they had seized a semi-automatic handgun.
Investigators were analysing a YouTube video in which a young man who identifies himself as Elliot Rodger sits in a car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity.
“It’s obviously the work of a madman,” Sheriff Brown said.
Rodger describes loneliness and frustration because “girls have never been attracted to me” and says, at 22, he is still a virgin.
Yesterday Alan Shifman - a lawyer who represents Mr Rodger - issued a statement saying his client believed his son was the killer. The family was staunchly against guns, he added.
“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 said.
Mr Shifman said the family called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos “regarding suicide and the killing of people” that Rodger had been posting.
Police interviewed Rodger and found him to be a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human”, he added. Police did not find a history of guns, but did say Rodger “didn’t have a lot of friends” had trouble making friends and did not have any girlfriends.
The Rodger family was not yet ready to speak publicly, but wanted to co-operate fully with police, public agencies and “any other person who feels that they need to help prevent these situations from ever occurring again”, Mr Shifman said.
“My client’s mission in life will be to try to prevent any such tragedies from ever happening again,” he said. “This country, this world, needs to address mental illness and the ramifications from not recognising these illnesses.”
Mr Shifman said the family was “staunchly against guns” and supports gun-control laws. “They are extremely, extremely upset that anybody was hurt under these circumstances,” he said.
In a 141-page document,Rodger wrote how he narrowly missed being found out when police knocked on his door. The officers left after determining he did not need to be locked up for mental health reasons.
Rodger expressed relief that his apartment was not searched because they would have found his weapons and writings.
Sheriff Brown said he would not second-guess his officers’ decision-making.
Richard Martinez said his son Christopher, 20, was among those killed. He blamed politicians and gun-rights proponents, saying: “When will this insanity stop? ... Too many have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘Not one more’.”
Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson was walking out of a comedy show when he was shot and stumbled into a nearby house. “He walked into these random guys’ house bleeding,” he said.
Mr Mattera was sitting at a bonfire with friends when at least one gunshot whizzed overhead. The friends ran for cover.
“We heard so many gunshots. It was unbelievable. I thought they were firecrackers. There had to have been at least like two guns. There were a lot of shots,” he said.
Rodger got into two gun battles before crashing his black BMW into a parked car.
“This is almost the kind of event that’s impossible to prevent and almost impossible to predict,” said University of California president Janet Napolitano, the former US secretary of homeland security.