Witness accounts of a drive-by shooting rampage in a college town near UC Santa Barbara portray a path of random violence at about nine locations that sent people running for cover in nearby businesses and residences Friday night.
One witness was waiting on a corner outside a deli in the community of Isla Vista, a Southern California seaside town about 10 miles west of Santa Barbara, when he heard what sounded like a car backfiring. The driver of a new model black BMW then stopped in front of IV Deli Mart and sprayed several rounds into the crowd.
"I heard somewhere between 12 to 20 shots into a group of people who were eating in front of it," witness Robert Johnson said.
The crowd ran into the building as what the witness described as "consecutive gunfire" continued from the car. Flowers and candles were placed outside the IV Deli Mart -- where bullets shattered several windows -- early Saturday as a memorial to the victims.
The driver continued down the street and opened fire at other locations, killing three people after having earlier killed three, in what the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department called a "mass murder." An attorney for Hollywood director Peter Rodger later said the family believes their son, Santa Barbara City College student Elliot Rodger, was the gunman.
The deceased gunman, identified Saturday evening by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department as Rodger, exchanged gunfire with deputies, but authorities could not confirm late Friday whether the fatal gunshot wound were self-inflicted. Four handguns and about 400 rounds of ammunition were recovered in the vehicle, according to the sheriff's department.
The shooting rampage occurred after he stabbed three male victims to death at his apartment, authorities said Saturday evening. The victims' bodies were found during the shooting investigation and authorities did not immediately have details regarding the time of the stabbing.
Jimmy Chang, a reporter for the UCSB newspaper and senior at the school, said he spoke with a female student who said the gunman opened fire on her as she was walking on an Isla Vista street.
"He actually drove across street to meet her," Chang said, repeating the witness' account. "The guy stuck his head out and says, 'Hey, what are you doing,' She ignored him, thinking he was just the 'typical, Isla Vista douche bag.' The guy pulled out a gun and shot at her. The bullet missed her head. She said she thought it was a BB gun, and she just kept walking faster."
- Timline: Isla Vista Shooting Rampage
The witness told Chang the man shot and missed again before she ran into a house for shelter. The woman said she did not know the gunman, Chang said.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department officials said they have "obtained and are currently analyzing both written and video" evidence. The evidence suggests "this atrocity was a pre-meditated mass murder," said Sheriff Bill Brown.
Sheriff's department personnel are investigating a video in which a man who identifies himself as Rodger details plans for "retribution" and "revenge against humanity" prior to the shooting.
Seven people remained hospitalized Saturday morning. Details regarding their conditions were not immediately available.
The mass killing comes about 13 years after a former UC Santa Barbara student drove his car through a crowd of people in Isla Vista, killing four. David Attias was convicted on four counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to a state mental hospital.