7 dead in drive-by shooting near UC Santa Barbara

7 dead in drive-by shooting near UC Santa Barbara

Credit: AP

In this image provided by KEYT-TV, a car window is shot out after a mass shooting near the campus of the University of Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, Calif., on May 23, 2014. (Photo: John Palminteri AP)


by Oren Dorell, USA TODAY


Posted on May 24, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Updated Saturday, May 24 at 2:22 PM

In what authorities are calling "the work of a madman," a gunman went on a drive-by shooting rampage in a Santa Barbara student enclave that left at least seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded.

Investigators believe a gunman driving a black BMW acted alone in the shootings late Friday night near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

A YouTube video posted Thursday in which a young man complains of rejection by women "appears to be connected" to the attack, Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown said, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.

"We're analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder," Brown said, according to the Associated Press.

Brown said the suspect, who has yet to be identified by police, exchanged gunfire twice with deputies, and then drove off and crashed into a parked car.

Deputies found the suspect inside the BMW dead from a gunshot wound to the head, but Brown said he did not know if the suspect was shot and killed by deputies or if the wound was self-inflicted. A semiautomatic handgun was recovered.

The sheriff said that the circumstances surrounding the shootings were under investigation. The shootings occurred at several sites in the town, resulting in nine crime scenes.

In the YouTube video, titled "Elliot Rodger's retribution," a young man sitting behind the wheel of a car with tinted windows parked in front of palm trees, talks of "loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires," and blames women for throwing themselves at "obnoxious brutes" but rejecting him, "the supreme gentlemen."

Rodger is a Santa Barbara City College Student and Isla Vista resident, according to Facebook page and a web diary titled "Elliot Rodger's Official Blog."

Most of the Facebook posts from the past year on a page bearing his name show photos of the same young man in the video, including a photo of him behind the wheel of a late-model black BMW coupe, and a few sunsets. Many of the blog posts carry a similar theme of loneliness and unrequited desire as the video.

One of the injured was a bicyclist who received traumatic head injury when he was hit by the shooter's black BMW while the driver was fleeing police, reporter John Palminteri of KEYT told CNN Saturday, citing police and witnesses.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover told KEYT-TV the gunfire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Friday in the Isla Vista neighborhood.

A student told the station he saw shots fired from a BMW, fatally striking one woman and critically injuring another woman.

"I heard shots, scream, pain," Michael Vitak said. "All emotions. I hope she is going to be fine."

The station said a black BMW slammed into as many as two cars.

The shooting prompted officials to issue alerts urging people to stay indoors.

Isla Vista is known for parties, including an annual spring bash that turned into a violent blowout last month as young people clashed with police and tossed rocks and bottles. A university police officer and four deputies were injured and 130 people were arrested.