Elliot Rodger

American spree killer (1991-2014)

Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger (July 24, 1991 – May 23, 2014) was an English-American former college student and mass murderer responsible for the 2014 Isla Vista killings. On May 23, 2014, Rodger killed six people and injured 14 others by using knives, semi-automatic pistols, and his car in Isla Vista, California, near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Rodger first killed his two roommates and their friend in the apartment they shared, ambushing and stabbing them one at a time as they arrived. Hours later, Rodger uploaded a video on YouTube titled "Elliot Rodger's Retribution," in which he detailed his intentions to target Isla Vista, explaining his motivations were to "punish" women for their lack of interest in him and men who were sexually active, driven by his hatred towards them.

Elliot Rodger
Driver's license photo of Rodger
Born
Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger

(1991-07-24)July 24, 1991
DiedMay 23, 2014(2014-05-23) (aged 22)
Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot
Nationality
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Other names
  • Virgin Killer
  • The Supreme Gentleman
  • Saint Elliot (by incels)
OccupationStudent
MovementIncels
Parent
Relatives

Additionally, he made a 137-page manifesto titled My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger, with it explaining his life story and frustrations with having stayed a virgin his whole life. Rodger emailed his manifesto to family members, acquaintances, and his therapists. He then drove to a sorority house and attempted to get in. Unable to enter, Rodger shot three women walking outside the sorority house, killing two. He then drove to a nearby delicatessen and shot and killed a man inside. After that, Rodger drove around Isla Vista, shooting at people and hitting others with his BMW. He shot back at sheriff's deputies twice and got shot in the hip. He later crashed his car into a parked vehicle. As police went around the vehicle, they found Rodger dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

Early life change

Elliot Rodger was born on July 24, 1991, in London, England to parents Peter Rodger and Li Chin.[1] His mother is Malaysian and worked as a nurse during the production of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. His father is British and was involved in the film industry, directing commercials and serving as a second unit director on the 2012 film The Hunger Games.[2][3] Rodger hailed from the notable Rodger family, which had a history of wealth before suffering financial loss during the Great Depression. Rodger's grandfather, George Rodger, was a well-known photojournalist known for his World War II photography. The Rodgers would later move to Sussex, where Peter started working as a professional photographer. Li Chin left her nursing job to watch her son, later welcoming a daughter into the family. Rodger's grandmother later moved in, with Rodger developing a close bond with her.[4] Rodger had a privileged childhood, experiencing affluence from a young age. He traveled to four different countries before he turned four years old.[5] Rodger started attending Dorset House, a private all-boys school.[6] Rodger disliked the school due to its strict environment, often leaving him in tears.[4]

When Rodger was five, his family moved to the United States, settling in Woodland Hills, California, an upscale suburb of Los Angeles.[4][7] He became friends with a girl and considered her the only female friend he ever had.[8] He went to Pinecrest Schools, later attending Topanga Elementary School where he made a few friends, including a boy who would become his best friend for 14 years.[9][10] When Rodger was seven, his parents divorced, causing him to be devastated.[11] Rodger and his younger sister lived with their mother during the weekdays and spent weekends with their father.[1] A year after the divorce, Rodger's father married Soumaya Akaaboune, a Moroccan-born French actress known for her role in Les Vraies Housewives, the French version of The Real Housewives series, and for having a small role in Matt Damon's movie Green Zone.[2][12] Rodger began showing signs of social and communication difficulties early in life. Throughout his time in elementary school Rodger would be quiet and withdrawn, often whispering answers if addressed, and preferred to write information down on paper rather than talk. He would use recess to hide behind buildings, avoiding interaction with his peers. Social gatherings like birthday parties made him anxious, and on one occasion at Disneyland, he was overwhelmed to tears by the crowds of people.[13][14] Rodger and his sister never became close; he viewed her as a rival. He would throw tantrums over issues involving her, such as having to share a PlayStation 2 or feeling upset when her friends came to his birthday party.[8][15] Rodger often felt jealous when his friends would talk to each other instead of focusing on him. He also felt angry when his friends talked to his sister, leaving him feeling abandoned.[8]

In 1999, Rodger's mother filed an affidavit for more child support. She labeled her son as a "high-functioning autistic child" and claimed that she needed more child support to look after her son because of his special needs. Countering this, Rodger's father presented doctor Stephen M. Scappa, who stated the autism diagnosis was fake because the initial diagnosis might have missed conditions like "depression or anxiety." Scappa recommended that Rodger should undergo additional evaluation by a child psychiatrist to secure a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.[16] Around this time, this is when Rodger began having a difficult relationship with Akaaboune.[17][18] As Rodger grew, he became more aware and uncomfortable with his height and slender frame, realizing he was the smallest person in his fourth-grade class.[9] He compared himself to classmates who were taller, which led him to play basketball with the hope it might help him grow. When Rodger saw others outplaying him on the court, he felt defeated and eventually quit.[8] Rodger also became embarrassed about being of mixed race—half-white and half-Asian—which he felt set him apart from his peers who were entirely white.[1] In an effort to blend in, at nine years old, Rodger dyed his hair blond and picked up skateboarding, hoping these changes would help him become friends with other children.[18][19] Despite his extreme shyness and struggle to engage in conversations, Rodger started to speak with the "cool kids" and even attempted to talk to girls.[15] Rodger would later begin to experience feelings of resentment, convinced that his life was unfair compared to his peers.[2] He felt that establishing friendships became increasingly difficult, particularly with women, leading to a sense of isolation and frustration.[1][19][18]

Middle years change

Rodger's mother had met George Lucas and dated him for a bit, leading to Rodger and his mother getting invitations to Star Wars red carpet premieres.[19][16][11] Rodger immersed himself in video games, and was gifted an Xbox to play popular games such as Halo for hours.[19] During this period, Akaaboune became pregnant and subsequently gave birth to a son.[20] Rodger's enjoyment of movies began to wane due to his discomfort with couples present at the movies.[19] Throughout his middle school years, his social interactions significantly decreased, leading him to find solace in the online game World of Warcraft. This game became a major part of his life, consuming up to 14 hours daily at his mother's house and serving as his primary form of social engagement.[19][18] When Rodger was 11, he found someone in an online chat room who shared explicit images of naked blond women with him. The exposure to pornography was new for Rodger, finding himself overwhelmed with shock and emotions upon viewing the pictures.[11] Upon reaching puberty, Rodger experienced an intense sexual attraction toward women, often masturbating to images of women online. He developed a high sex drive and began to believe he would never have sex with women.[21] After his mother moved into an apartment in Calabasas, California, Rodger saw it as beneath his standards and chose not to bring friends over, concerned they would judge him due to the living conditions.[15] By the time Rodger was in middle school, feeling like an outcast, he began to intentionally annoy classmates to gain some attention. Rodger became known as the "quiet" and "weird kid," leading to teasing and bullying from other classmates.[15] Rodger was also bullied by a blond girl, leading him to start to hate women, whom he viewed as "heartless creatures."[22][23] While at an Internet cafe, Rodger was startled and curious when he saw an older teenager watching pornography, feeling a mixture of shock and arousal. Subsequently, Rodger walked home alone, crying and feeling too guilty to talk with his parents about it. As time passed, Rodger's inability to engage in sex worsened his misery.[11]

After finishing middle school, Rodger was eager to distance himself from girls and enrolled in Crespi Carmelite High School, an all-boys Roman Catholic institution. He initially looked forward to the new start, but his anticipation quickly turned to anxiety on his first day. Upon arriving and observing the older, taller students, Rodger experienced overwhelming fear, leading him to break down in tears and confess to his father that he was too scared to exit the car.[16] During his first week at Crespi Carmelite High School, Rodger faced bullying from seniors, including incidents where they threw food at him during lunch.[19][24] In one incident, Rodger, having fallen asleep in class, had his head taped to his desk by classmates.[19][25] The bullying escalated with students calling him homophobic slurs and taunting him over his fear of interacting with girls. Overwhelmed by the bullying, Rodger felt powerless to respond, often crying alone during school hours.[9][24] As the bullying continued, Rodger began to wait for the halls to be empty before going to his next class. He started to avoid doing his homework and would continue to play World of Warcraft for hours.[16] On the last day of Rodger's freshman year, a classmate bragged about having sexual relations with his girlfriend. Rodger didn't believe him, causing his classmate to play a voice recording of him and his girlfriend being intimate. Rodger was soon overcome with rage and jealousy. He was shortly called into the office and was picked up by his mother. During the car ride, Rodger sobbed heavily and shared the ordeal with her, marking his final day at the school.[25][21] His parents then enrolled him in Taft Charter High School, a public school with a student body of 2,700.[16] The transition to Taft Charter High School intensified Rodger's fears due to its large student population.[9] Rodger would be shoved against lockers and suffered verbal abuse from male students in the presence of female students.[16] One afternoon, while leaving the school premises, Rodger stopped dead in his tracks and started having an anxiety attack. School staff had to call his mother to come and escort her son to her car.[1][16] After only a week of attending Taft High School, Rodger parents withdrew him from the school.[16] Rodger spent several weeks at home not attending school. His parents then chose to enroll him in Independence High School, a school of roughly 100 students that offered three to four hours of daily teaching aimed at assisting students facing challenges, believing it to be a safer environment where he wouldn't face bullying.[16][9]

In 2007, Rodger was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), a condition on the autism spectrum that leads to challenges in social development.[26] At the age of 15, he was prescribed a regimen of Xanax and Prozac, eventually taking Paxil, but stopped taking it a year later.[13] At the age of 17, the mere suggestion of visiting Morocco triggered a temper tantrum from Rodger. Despite his initial resistance, he ended up going with his step-mother and half brother but remained discontent, emailing his mother non-stop until she finally gave in and allowed him to return to her home.[27] The downturn in the commercial directing industry, exacerbated by the September 11 attacks, severely impacted Rodger's father's career.[16] In response, his father embarked on creating a documentary titled Oh My God, which took him to over 23 countries in two and a half years to interview figures like Hugh Jackman and Ringo Starr on their perceptions of God.[12] The documentary's release in November 2009 was a financial flop, selling only a few tickets and costing Rodger's father around $200,000, money he had secured from his home's equity.[16] This drove Rodger's father into debt and forced him to stop child support payments. He explained to a judge that his business had been unprofitable for more than a year, leaving him without any income and in search of work. He sought to reduce his child support payments for his two children from $2,000 monthly. Rodger's mother acknowledged that her ex-husband financed his documentary by leveraging his home but consented to pause child support payments for a year. With Rodger's mother only making $40,000 a year working as a research assistant for a film company, she stated that she found herself relying on family and friends for money.[28]

After spending so much time on video games, Akaaboune became concerned about Rodger's unwillingness to socialize, and often requested that others spend time with him, but this would anger Rodger, causing him to argue with his step-mother.[16][29] In a later event Rodger rescued his younger brother from drowning in their family pool.[19] His relationships with his step-mother and father grew increasingly strained over time, ultimately leading to him being kicked out from their house. Rodger soon harbored a fixation on becoming rich, believing it to be the key to gaining attention from women. He urged his mother to marry a wealthy man, wanting her to disregard her happiness for his ambitions into wealth. His mother expressed unwillingness to remarry. She suggested to her son to direct his energies toward writing, recognizing his potential talent in that area, and mentioned he could make money out of it.[28] Considering this, Rodger thought that becoming a successful screenwriter would be a quick path to wealth. Upon realizing the time and effort required for the success, he quickly gave up.[27] Rodger disliked high school a lot and was determined to graduate early. He stopped playing World of Warcraft, soon maintaining nearly perfect attendance and achieving straight A's in the majority of his classes. Although fellow students made efforts to connect with him, inviting him to join them, Rodger consistently disregarded their attempts.[1][16][9] Rodger graduated from Independence High School in 2010.[1][30][31]

Later life change

By 18, Rodger stopped going to the mental health care his family provided and refused to take psychiatric medication he had been prescribed.[2][32] He blamed his parents responsible for his lack of wealth, blaming his mother for not marrying a wealthier man for his benefit and criticized his father for using his money towards Oh My God.[28] Rodger went on to enroll in Los Angeles Pierce College but didn't stay long, choosing to leave the institution after seeing too many happy couples that caused him rage.[16][19][21] Despite his mother's encouragement to seek employment, Rodger frequently passed his time reading at Barnes and Noble or wandering around his mother's house, harboring the hope that he runs into a blond woman that found him attractive. Worried about his direction in life, his parents tried to help him, and despite their attempts, Rodger was resistant to the idea of employment, asserting that the jobs offered to him were "beneath [him]," as he considered himself an "intellectual who [was] destined for greatness."[19] He would later sit by himself in cafes, hoping for women to approach him. When Rodger's half-brother began to show signs of becoming more social, Rodger felt jealous, but still liked him.[27]

After leaving Los Angeles Pierce College, Rodger visited Moorpark College with his mother, attracted by its smaller size and more appealing aesthetics, Rodger decided to join. He began becoming hopeful that the change would mark a new beginning, particularly with the prospect of meeting blond women, and he fantasized about showing a potential girlfriend around his new college campus. However, this was short-lived, as Rodger quickly found himself feeling lonely and sad at Moorpark. He developed feelings of envy towards a couple in one of his classes. By the time he turned 19, Rodger decided to take one class, a political science course, partly relieved that the couple from his previous class was not present, although he still encountered them on campus. His discomfort was further fueled by his social anxiety, particularly when he was called upon by a professor. After completing a year at Moorpark College, he dropped out in 2010.[33][34] Rodger took comfort in knowing that his friend of 14 years was also a virgin. But considering that he and his friend were both virgins, he couldn't understand why his friend wasn't as angry with women as he was. Seeing his friend as weak, Rodger eventually revealed his thoughts of taking over the world and killing people. Their friendship grew strained over time, and his friend began to distance himself from Rodger more. Rodger also increasingly shared with his few friends his disturbing fantasies about dominating the world and committing acts of torture and murder. Over time, these conversations began to take a toll on his friendships, leading his friends to distance themselves and avoid him.[35]

Santa Barbara change

 
Rodger moved to Isla Vista, California (pictured in April 2014) in hopes of getting a girlfriend and losing his virginity.

In an attempt to help Rodger socialize more and reduce his isolation, his parents decided to send him to college in Santa Barbara.[2] They agreed to pay for his apartment and college classes, optimistic that being their son being part of a college community would encourage him to make friends.[19] Rodger agreed after watching the 2006 American crime drama film Alpha Dog. Thinking about the film, Rodger believed moving to Santa Barbara would give him the chance to go to parties and finally lose his virginity.[36] In June 2011, Rodger moved out of his mother's house to the Capri Apartments in Isla Vista, California, near the University of California, Santa Barbara and would attend Santa Barbara City College.[1] Shortly after settling in, Rodger experienced intense jealousy towards one of his roommates black friends who shared that he had lost his virginity at the age of 13. This deeply upset Rodger, driving him to retreat to his room in tears and reach out to his mother, expressing his frustration and jealousy over the attention black men received from blond women instead of him.[35] Rodger found it hard to get along with several different roommates and chose to spend much of his time alone, seeking solitude at a golf course or the beaches around Isla Vista.[37] Rodger was later given two new Hispanic roommates, and would call them racial slurs. After the two moved out, Rodger was soon paired with another roommate in September 2011. Their relationship deteriorated over time, leading the roommate to send a letter to Capri's management asking to be assigned a new apartment. The roommate mentioned that Rodger was mean several times and had "huge psychological issues." He stated that Rodger was a "ticking time bomb waiting to explode" and said they feared for their life.[38][39]

Rodger developed a deep resentment towards the people in Isla Vista, seeing himself as a sophisticated person deserving of relationships with attractive blond women. He believed that women were wrong for rejecting him, and blamed men who were more successful than him.[40] Rodger started to have thoughts of killing couples, envisioning himself stabbing them to death while they were engaged in sexual activity.[35] In July 2011, during a visit to Starbucks, Rodger noticed a couple engaging in a kiss. Overwhelmed by his emotions, he followed them outside and, in a moment of anger, threw his coffee at them. The man yelled at Rodger, prompting him to flee the scene in fear.[1][41] On another incident, just days away from turning 20, Rodger saw another couple kissing at a food court. Driven by jealousy, he tracked them down in his car and splashed them with iced tea.[41] Rodger soon developed an obsession with designer clothing, purchasing numerous items in an attempt to elevate his status.[14][19] Rodger would roam around Isla Vista every day, often sitting at one of the outdoor tables outside Domino’s Pizza, hoping that a woman would find him attractive and initiate a conversation with him. Rodger's feelings of jealousy were further inflamed when one of his roommates invited his girlfriend over, leading Rodger to internally question why a woman would choose to date someone he perceived as unattractive.[35] In an attempt to find social connection, Rodger made a friend who introduced him to other acquaintances in hopes of integrating him into their circle.[42][43] In January 2012, while driving past a bus stop, Rodger saw two blond women and attempted to engage with them by smiling. When they did not return the smile, he reacted turning his car around and splashing his latte on them.[44]

By February 2012, Rodger's frustration with his social interactions, particularly with blond women whom he perceived as evil, led him to withdraw from all his college classes from Santa Barbara City College. Rodger also to begin to contemplate what he referred to as the "Day of Retribution," a planned attack on the people in Isla Vista after feeling lonely and not wanting to remain a virgin any longer.[41] Rodger later attended a private Katy Perry concert in March 2012 and went to the red carpet premiere of The Hunger Games with his father the next day, where he met Jack Ross, the 16-year-old son of the film's director, Gary Ross.[19][45] In a bid to achieve wealth, Rodger bought lottery tickets for The Mega Millions jackpot in June 2012, but his hopes were dashed when he lost. Determined to amass the funds he believed were necessary for his planned act of vengeance, Rodger managed to save up $5,000 to buy the supplies he thought he needed.[41] In July 2012, while walking alone in a park, he saw some college students playing kickball.[16] Overwhelmed by envy, especially upon seeing blond women interacting with men in the group, Rodger went to a Kmart, purchased a Super Soaker, and filled it with orange juice.[1] He returned to the park and sprayed the students while yelling at them.[19][16] In August 2012, Rodger encountered The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, a book that promoted the "law of attraction." Motivated by its principles, he dedicated the entire month to meditating in his room, vividly imagining himself walking through a park alongside a beautiful girl. In September 2012, Rodger experienced despair after failing to win the $120 million Mega Millions jackpot, and led him to cry for hours and resulted in him breaking his laptop. The next day, he traveled to Oxnard to purchase a replacement laptop. While waiting for the new laptop, he visited a shooting range to to learn how to shoot a gun, believing that his "Day of Retribution" was now very possible. As he fired rounds at the range, Rodger found himself reflecting on the sequence of events that had brought him to that point.[41][46]

Initially, Rodger was uncertain whether to target Santa Barbara City College or Isla Vista for his attacks. Eventually, he decided to go with Isla Vista as the location for his rampage.[13] Rodger began to meticulously plan his attack around Halloween of 2013 but eventually scrapped the idea, fearing the heightened police presence typical of the holiday might thwart his plans.[47] In November 2012, he drove from Santa Barbara to Arizona to buy tickets for the Powerball jackpot, which had soared to $500 million.[41] Despite driving over to Arizona four times, his efforts were met with consistent failure, each loss pushing him deeper into fury. Thinking he would remain a virgin forever, he actively began to prepare for his planned "Day of Retribution".[28] In December 2012, Rodger bought a Glock 34 semiautomatic pistol for $755.57 at a firearms dealer in Goleta, California.[41][48][49] As the spring of 2013 approached, Rodger's thoughts turned darker as he began to seriously contemplate orchestrating the "Day of Retribution," purchasing a SIG Sauer P226 handgun in March 2013 for $1,179.48 in Burbank, California.[41][49] Rodger began to plan his attack sometime in November of 2013.[19] Rodger and two other people were placed as roommates in their apartment complex not long after having taken a questionnaire about their personalities. Rodger would go with them to the gym and dinner, but after a few occasions, he started to distance himself. He became withdrawn and was frequently heard having intense phone calls from his room. The roommates suspected that Rodger possessed a firearm because they had heard a clicking sound numerous times. They decided to move out in June 2013 as they became more uncomfortable living with Rodger.[50][51]

Incident at house party change

On July 20, 2013, Rodger, intent on losing his virginity before his 22nd birthday, consumed vodka to induce intoxication. He attended a party with the hope of engaging with women. Frustrated by his inability to talk with them, Rodger grew enraged and climbed a 10-foot ledge, pretending to shoot people with his finger.[2][52] Subsequently, he attempted to shove multiple women off the ledge but was thwarted by a group of men who pushed him off instead, resulting in a fractured ankle. Following the fall, Rodger tried to leave the party but realized he had lost his sunglasses. Still highly inebriated, he attempted to return to the party but inadvertently walked into another house and got into another fight. The students called him names and beat him up. Rodger, battered and bloodied, had to stumble back to his apartment. The following day, two sheriff's deputies visited Rodger in the hospital. Rodger claimed being pushed off the ledge after insulting someone's appearance, asserting that he then went to a different house's front yard and sat on a law chair, when out of nowhere, approximately ten men showed up and beat him up. When asked why he didn't call the cops, Rodger claimed he didn't know who to reach out to.[52]

A deputy remarked on Rodger's dishonesty, deeming him too "timid" and "shy" to tell the true events. A witness said a man who looked like Rodger began the fight by trying to push two women off a ledge. They didn't fall, but Rodger tried to push two more women before he jumped off the ledge and ran. The witness stated that Rodger was alone and acted strange He noted that Rodger wasn't talking to anyone at the party.[53] After arriving at his apartment, a neighbor observed Rodger returning home in tears, swearing to kill those who attacked him and contemplated suicide. Rodger disclosed in his manifesto that this event was the decisive moment that propelled him to finalize his plans for the attack. The sheriff's office concluded Rodger had started the fight, and the investigation was closed without further action. They did not arrest Rodger or interrogate him further.[41][52]

Mental health and further planning change

In August 2013, fueled by resentment over his broken ankle and repeated rejections from women who he thought chose the wrong man, Rodger concluded that his only resolve was to enact his planned attack. However, hindered by his fractured ankle, he postponed his scheme until the following spring of 2014.[41] Rodger experienced "extreme rage" when he discovered that his sister got a boyfriend, perceiving him as a successful man who attracted women sexually. Rodger also overheard his sister and her boyfriend engaging in sexual activity at his mother's house, and felt very depressed that his younger sister had lost her virginity before he had.[54] Rodger's parents sought more professional help for him, leading to therapy sessions with Charles Sophy, a controversial psychiatrist who began treating Rodger in late 2012.[55] He prescribed him Risperidone, an antipsychotic drug, which Rodger decided not to take after researching it online.[19][56][57][58] Subsequently, Rodger stopped going to his appointments with Sophy by the fall of 2013.[59][60] Rodger sought assistance from family friend Dale Launer, a filmmaker known for his work on relationship-themed movies, in improving his interactions with women. Launer agreed to help and offered advice on talking with women. However, Rodger found the guidance ineffective, believing it did not aid him in attracting women or in losing his virginity.[55][61] Rodger was helped by three different counselors and attended 29 sessions between May 2013 and May 2014.[13]

Rodger experienced jealousy and increased distress when he noticed women showing interest to one of his male counselors. Although he developed a connection with a female counselor, her relocation left him reluctant to seek a replacement, feeling that hiring a woman for companionship resembled engaging in prostitution.[44] Around this time, his parents enlisted the help of a life coach named Gavin Linderman.[62] Linderman provided Rodger with rehabilitation and instructions to improve his social life, requiring Rodger to travel to Los Angeles for the sessions. During their meetings, Rodger opened up to the life coach about his struggles with his virginity.[62] Linderman suggested that moving out from Isla Vista would be beneficial, but Rodger promptly dismissed that idea.[19] During this period, Rodger's envy toward his six-year-old stepbrother intensified, particularly as his brother secured opportunities to appear in television commercials.[63] Consumed by jealousy, Rodger began plotting the murder of his stepbrother, fearing his sibling would surpass him in popularity with girls.[64][65] Additionally, he devised a plan to kill his step-mother by stabbing her in the neck due to disliking her.[63] Rodger planned to commit the murders while his father was away on a business trip, as Rodger harbored concerns that he might hesitate if confronted with the task of killing his own father.[66][67] Amidst his intentions, Rodger's mother bought him a used $40,000 2008 BMW 328i Coupé, giving a glimmer of hope within him that he might attract a girlfriend during the rest of 2013.[1][41]

Behavior with others change

While out with two friends, tensions rose after one of them began dating women, sparking jealousy in Rodger who resorted to hurling insults at them. In a moment of frustration, his friend yelled, "No girl in this whole world will ever want to fuck you," a statement that deeply insulted Rodger and further declined his mental state. On another occasion, during a visit to the Getty Museum, one friend mentioned that women were checking them out. Rodger questioned if any women were looking at him, and upon hearing a negative response, he separated from the group and broke down in tears. As Rodger's two friends attempted to distance themselves, he persistently sent them messages. Eventually, they agreed to a meet-up at a park, where they then drove to a restaurant. They later went to a different park where one friend fell asleep in the car. Rodger and the other friend walked outside. During their conversation, Rodger began to share his negative views on women and the world. Concerned, his friend cautioned him against doing anything stupid, to which Rodger assured he had no plans of "doing anything stupid." That meeting turned out to be the last time he saw his two friends.[27][68]

In September 2013, Rodger was assigned a random apartment where he gained two new roommates, 20-year-old Weihan "David" Wang and 20-year-old Cheng Yuan "James" Hong.[41][69] As Wang's mother helped her son move his stuff into the apartment, she urged the three to take care of each other, which Rodger quickly brushed off.[70] Rodger would spend most of his time out of the apartment or alone in his room,[70] making Wang feel bothered by Rodger's antisocial behavior. He filed complaints with the building manager, claiming Rodger played loud music during the night.[71][72][73] On January 15, 2014, a fight happened between Rodger and Hong when Rodger accused him of stealing three candles valued at $22.[53] The conflict began when Rodger, irritated by Hong's cooking, took his measuring cup, prompting Hong to retaliate by taking Rodger's candles in an attempt to initiate a trade.[1] Rodger responded by placing Hong under a citizen's arrest.[1][53] Upon police intervention, Hong claimed he believed Rodger had stolen his possessions, including a rice bowl, though Rodger denied the allegations. Law enforcement discovered the candles on Hong's bed. After Hong refused to return the candles, he was arrested and charged with petty theft. He was found guilty, fined, and later released.[1][53]

Hong had become angry by Rodger's actions but refrained from confronting him, concerned that it might worsen their living conditions. Hong and Wang distanced themselves from Rodger and went on to sign a lease with friends for a different apartment.[70] Rodger began to plan to murder Wang and Hong, due to disliking them and feeling they would get in the way of his attack.[41] In January 2014, Rodger contemplated launching his planned attack during Valentine's Day or Deltopia, a spring break event drawing crowds to Isla Vista in early April. However, he dismissed these dates due to heightened police presence and his realization that he required additional time for preparation. Eventually, he settled on April 26, 2014, as the revised date for his attack.[41] He bought another SIG Sauer P226 handgun for $1,132 in Oxnard, California in February 2014 incase the other two firearms jammed.[49][74] Throughout February and March, Rodger visited gun ranges, making multiple ammunition purchases.[14] He funded his weapon purchases with money he had saved from gifts from his grandparents and the $500 monthly allowance his father sent him.[28]

Online activity change

Rodger mainly expressed his emotions through platforms like YouTube, where he shared his frustrations about his romantic failures and his views on life.[16][75][76] In April 2014, he uploaded multiple videos on YouTube, expressing his deep loneliness and frustration due to his unsuccessful attempts at attracting a girlfriend. He couldn't comprehend why women would prefer "inferior" men over him, questioning why his perceived good looks, high end clothes, and expensive car failed to garner any attention or acknowledgment from women, with video titles such as: "Why do girls hate me so much?", "Life is so unfair because girls don't want me", and "My reaction to seeing a young couple at the beach, Envy".[1][76][75][77] He would secretly follow couples and record them while complaining how lonely he felt by seeing them.[44] In additional videos, he recorded himself taking scenic drives surrounded by palm trees and dancing to music from artists like Whitney Houston, George Michael, and Phil Collins.[16][78][79] Rodger was subscribed to multiple YouTube channels associated with the Men's rights movement, which posted content aimed at advising men on attracting and talking with women.[80][81][82] Rodger also maintained a second YouTube channel named "Valtharion".[83] He would leave negative comment across several videos, including calling women derogatory terms, saying racist statements, and accusing other men of lying about their relationships with women. Additionally, Rodger boasted about his affluent family background and expressed a sense of superiority due to being half-white.[84] On his personal blog, named "Elliot Rodger's Official Blog," he portrayed himself as a "sophisticated, polite gentleman," expressing his difficulties in socializing and connecting with others in Isla Vista.[11] Rodger shared selfies on his Facebook profile, showcasing himself enjoying luxurious plane rides and attending movie premieres.[85] Rodger also frequently shared photos on his Google+ and YouTube, often showcasing himself alongside his BMW.[86] Rodger expressed his confusion on Twitter about why women were sexually attracted to "brutish men" rather than "sophisticated gentlemen" like him. He also posted a link to his video "Why do girls hate me so much?".[87] Rodger's online activities included numerous searches related to Nazis, such as researching Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler, and looking up topics like "Did Adolf Hitler have a girlfriend," Adolf Hitler and the law of attraction,” "Nazi curbstomp," “Holocaust of black people," and "Nazi anime."[13][26]

Rodger also searched for information on "modern torture devices" and "Spanish Inquisition torture devices."[88] Rodger frequently engaged with online communities such as ForeverAlone and PUAHate, where men who struggled with romantic relationships shared their grievances, critiqued each other and expressed disdain towards women and pick-up artists.[89] Within these forums, Rodger and other men identified themselves as "incels," a term for involuntary celibate, where they discussed their struggles to find a romantic or sexual partner.[90] Because users on PUAHate shared similar negative perceptions of women, it further convinced Rodger that the difficulties some men experienced in finding partners were because women are "wicked and degenerate."[44][91][92] When a user suggested that lucid dreaming having sex could serve as a substitute for their lack of intimacy in real life, Rodger argued that incels needed to initiate a "revolution." He believed it was essential to "destroy" the issues they faced by recognizing their "true strength and numbers." Furthermore, Rodger advocated for the overthrow of what he termed the "oppressive feminist system," envisioning a world where women would live in fear of incels.[81][93] Rodger also expressed racist views in his posts towards interracial couples, including mocking an Asian man trying to date a white women and stating it was "rage-inducing" after he saw a black man hanging out with white women.[14] After a user accused him of being racist, Rodger expressed that he was shocked that white women would choose "undeserving" men over him.[94] Rodger would post his YouTube videos to forums like Bodybuilding.com, where despite his attempts to showcase his loneliness, users left comments on his videos that ridiculed him, branding him as desperate and insecure.[16] On bodybuilding.com, a user compared Rodger's demeanor to that of a serial killer, attributing his romantic failures to sounding creepy.[16] Additionally, one of Rodger's YouTube videos garnered attention on Reddit's "cringe" forum, where a user drew comparisons between Rodger and the fictional serial killer Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.[78][95] He posted on PUAHate days before his planned attacks:

You’re all jealous of my 10/10 pretty-boy face This site is full of stupid, disgusting, mentally ill degenerates who take pleasure in putting down others. That is all I have to say on here. Goodbye.[13]

Further planning change

In the days leading up to his planned April attack, Rodger created a 137-page manifesto titled My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger.[96][97] Rodger described women as a "plague" and thought that them getting the right to choose their own partners could "hinder the advancement of humanity," asserting that "civilized men of intelligence" should choose who they could mate with. He stated they should not be given any rights, adding that their "wickedness" needed to be "contained" to avoid the risk of humanity from "falling into degeneracy." Rodger opined that women's refusal to accept him was a "declaration of war" and hoped for his attacks to reshape humanity. He believed that to "purify the world," it was necessary to get rid of love and sex from human existence altogether. He imagined himself as a leader with "fanatically loyal troops" who imprison women in concentration camps where most would die from starvation, and a few women would be left alive where they would be kept in "secret labs" and be "artificially inseminated" with sperm samples to become pregnant, ensuring men would be unaware of women's existence.[98][99]

Rodger detailed his plan for his "Day of Retribution," and divided it into three parts. The first phase involved killing his two roommates first, where he would then lure people into his apartment, wanting to slowly torture them before killing them.[100][101] In the second phase of his plan, which he dubbed the "War on Women," Rodger aimed to target "the very girls who represent everything [he] hate[s] in the female gender" specifically focusing on the Alpha Phi sorority house. His intention was to eliminate as many blond women as possible, whom he labeled "spoiled, heartless, wicked bitches."[102][103][104] In his final phase, Rodger planned to drive to his father's house and kill his step-mother and half-brother.[105] He would then steal their Mercedes SUV and drive it to Isla Vista, shooting and hitting as many people as possible with his car.[106][107][108][109] In April, Rodger extended his preparations by visiting two additional gun ranges.[14][41] After Rodger posted multiple videos to his YouTube channel in the weeks leading up to his April attack, he hoped that a woman might see his videos and ask him out on a date. As this did not happen, Rodger planned to finish writing his manifesto and upload one last video minutes before he started his attack.[105] However, Rodger became sick with a cold on April 24, leading him to ponder whether it was a sign to abandon his intentions. Consequently, he postponed the date by a month, settling on May 24, to allow recovery from his cold and more time to live.[41]

Incidents with police change

On April 30, 2014, Rodger's mother became worried after she hadn't heard from her son in four days. She found the videos he had posted online and became shocked, reaching out to his therapist.[110][111] The therapist then contacted a mental health professional, who requested a welfare check on Rodger. Responding to the request, four sheriff's deputies, a university police officer, and a dispatcher in training visited Rodger's apartment.[110][112] Rodger explained that he had no thoughts of hurting anyone or himself and that his videos were his way of expressing his social difficulties in Isla Vista.[110] A deputy called Rodger's mother to update her and handed the phone to Rodger, who reassured her he was alright and would call her later. The deputies also provided Rodger with information on local support services and determined he did not meet the criteria for involuntary hold.[110][113] Because the officers did not watch the videos or check if Rodger owned any weapons, they determined that Rodger did not pose an immediate risk to himself or others.[114] After the authorities left, Rodger felt relieved they did not search his apartment, fearing they would have located his firearms and manifesto, causing him to go to prison. He maintained possession of a gun and several loaded magazines close at hand. He intended to use them against the police if they returned and then planned to flee.[115] Rodger removed most of his videos from YouTube, believing the way he acted on them raised suspicion that could ruin his plans.[112] In the description of one of his videos, Rodger mentioned that he had temporarily removed most of his videos due to the concern they had caused among some of his family members.[116] Rodger planned to re-post them in the days leading up to his attack in May.[112]

On May 6, 2014, Rodger got involved in an altercation with a couple at Goleta Beach. When the boyfriend was attempting to reverse out of a parking spot, Rodger drove his BMW to block him. The girlfriend, observing from her vehicle, saw her boyfriend and Rodger fight from their respective cars. Rodger told the boyfriend, "You're lucky to be an Asian guy dating a white girl. It's too bad she is such a horsefaced slut." After making the remark, he sped off. The boyfriend told the incident to his girlfriend, which frustrated her. She decided to pursue Rodger in her car. Upon catching up to him and attempting to confront him, Rodger said nothing, leaving the woman feeling uneasy, causing her to leave. As she was driving away, she noticed Rodger speeding through the parking lot, almost hitting several cars in the process. The woman called 911, telling law enforcement about the situation and to search the area for a black BMW.[117][26]

Attacks change

As the pressure mounted in anticipation of his looming attack, Rodger turned to Xanax to alleviate his escalating anxiety.[13] Throughout May 2014, Rodger embarked on drives across Santa Barbara, enjoying his final weeks alive.[41] Days before his attack, he posted on bodybuilding.com before discovering and posting on anxietyzone.com.[13][14] On May 22, he reposted the "Why do girls hate me so much?" video on YouTube. Despite initially selecting May 24 as the date for his attack, Rodger unexpectedly initiated his attacks a day earlier, on May 23.[41] On the day of his rampage, Rodger took Alprazolam and Benzodiazepine, medicine that helped with anxiety.[26] He looked up pornography online and searched the terms "quiet silent kill with a knife" and "how to kill someone with a knife," before practicing stabbing on his bed sheets and pillows.[13][118] Carrying a six-inch "SRK" knife along with a nine-inch boar hunting knife, Rodger first ambushed Wang upon his return to the apartment. Wang tried to defend himself but was stabbed 15 times and suffered 23 slashes. Rodger then moved Wang's body to the corner of a bedroom and threw it on the floor facedown, partially covering it with blankets, towels, and clothing. Hong, who was wearing his backpack, soon entered the apartment and was immediately attacked by Rodger. Despite his attempts to defend himself, Hong was overwhelmed, receiving 25 stab wounds and 12 slashes. Rodger dragged Hong's body to the same bedroom, throwing it face down halfway on top of Wang's body. He also concealed Hong’s body with blankets and clothing.[13][14][26] The final victim, 19-year-old George Chen, was Hong and Wang's friend who arrived at the apartment last to visit them. Upon entering, Rodger ambushed Chen, unleashing a total of 94 stab wounds and 11 slashes as Chen attempted to defend himself. Rodger left Chen's body in a bathroom in a pool of blood. Rodger attempted to clean the apartment's hallways and hide evidence of the earlier stabbings as each victim entered. He tried using bathroom towels and paper towels to clean up the blood, but they quickly became soaked. Despite his efforts, blood remained splattered on the hallways and its walls.[13][14][26][119]

Following the murders of the three men, Rodger changed out his blood-drenched clothes and wrapped them with bed sheets. He then made his way to Starbucks where he purchased a triple-vanilla latte. Less than two hours after his Starbucks visit, and minutes before his attack, Rodger uploaded a video on YouTube called "Elliot Rodger's Retribution". He also emailed his 137-page manifesto to 34 people, including his parents, friends, and therapists.[120] In the video, Rodger is seen sitting in his BMW during a sunset, reciting scripted lines and letting out fake laughs.[121][122] Rodger explained in the video that he was frustrated that he was still a virgin at 22, that he would "punish" women for rejecting him despite being a "Supreme Gentleman," and expressed his hatred for sexually active men.[123][124][125] Upon receiving the email, Linderman told Rodger's mother to examine what her son had sent. Rodger's mother quickly accessed the email, uncovering his manifesto. Disturbed by its contents and after finding Rodger's "Retribution" video online, she immediately called Rodger's father who was at dinner with friends and notified him about what she found. Rodger's mother set off by herself, while his father and Akaaboune traveled in another car, both parties rushing towards Isla Vista while calling the authorities.[126] Meanwhile, Rodger proceeded to the Alpha Phi sorority house, attempting to get in by knocking on the door for three minutes.[13] When no one answered, Rodger got frustrated and returned to his car. He then noticed three women, 19-year-old Veronika Weiss, 22-year-old Katherine "Katie" Cooper, and a 20-year-old woman, members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, walking around the corner of the Alpha Phi sorority house. As the women were walking back to their Delta Delta Delta sorority house, Rodger slowly approached them in his car and, from an open window, fired multiple shots at them.[13][127][128][129] He sped away and people noticed the women bleeding on the grass. One person started giving Cooper CPR, while another tried to comfort Weiss by holding her head and speaking to her, but when the police arrived, the two women were already dead. The 20-year-old woman, in a call with her mother, was crying repeatedly that she was going to die. A deputy arrived to provide aid to her, applying pressure to her wounds. A bystander then came and continued to administer first aid while the deputy joined the pursuit of Rodger. A person told the women's mother over the phone that her daughter was going to survive.[13][129]

After driving away from the sorority house, Rodger executed a three-point turn in a driveway along Pardall Road. Driving past a closed coffee shop on Pardall, he discharged a shot toward it.[129] Continuing his rampage, he proceeded to the IV Deli Mart, where he unleashed a barrage of gunfire at individuals nearby.[130] 20-year-old Christopher Michaels-Martinez was at the Deli's entrance and turned around to look at Rodger's car when he was shot in the chest, resulting in injuries to his liver and the right ventricle of his heart.[131] Michaels-Martinez managed to stumble inside the deli but fell to the ground. Rodger continued to fire additional shots into the deli, shattering windows and sending people scrambling for cover.[13][129][132] Rodger then drove away and despite CPR attempts by a 19-year-old woman and sheriff's deputy, Michaels-Martinez died.[131] Rodger continued driving, striking a man with his vehicle, knocking him into the air.[129] Driving on the wrong side of the street, he collided with another pedestrian and fired shots at two individuals on the sidewalk, narrowly missing them. He then targeted a couple exiting a pizzeria and a female cyclist. Going randomly down several streets, Rodger engaged in an exchange of gunfire with a sheriff's deputy, injuring two pedestrians in the process. Continuing, he shot and wounded three more individuals on Sabado Tarde Street, striking a skateboarder and two cyclists with his vehicle before shooting two men at another intersection.[133] Near the intersection of El Embarcadero and Sabado Tarde, Rodger engaged in a shootout with four sheriff's deputies, sustaining a gunshot wound to the hip.[134] Desperate to evade capture, Rodger drove away, striking another cyclist whose impact shattered the car's windshield. Rodger's attempt to flee made him crash into a parked vehicle.[135] As law enforcement officers surrounded the car, they mistakenly handcuffed the injured cyclist, initially suspecting him to be a potential second assailant. Realizing their error, they provided him with medical attention, acknowledging him as a victim rather than an accomplice.[136] Upon searching Rodger's vehicle, police discovered his lifeless body, having succumbed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.[135]

Items found in car change

 
Memorial wall honoring the first three victims killed in the 2014 Isla Vista killings. From left to right: George Chen, Weihan "David" Wang, and Cheng Yuan "James" Hong.

Inside Rodger's car, authorities found a cache of weaponry, including a Glock 34 handgun, two SIG Sauer P226 handguns, over 500 additional rounds of live ammunition, and the two knives he used to kill his two roommates and their friend. The entire shooting spree unfolded within eight minutes, during which Rodger discharged approximately 55 9mm rounds.[129] During the shootings, Rodger used only one of the three pistols, the SIG Sauer P226, which was discovered on the driver's seat of his car.[62]

Victims killed change

Rodger's rampage resulted in the deaths of six people, all University of California, Santa Barbara students, with 14 others sustaining injuries.[137]

  • 20-year-old Weihan "David" Wang (stabbed to death)
  • 20-year-old Cheng Yuan "James" Hong (stabbed to death)
  • 19-year-old George Chen (stabbed to death)
  • 22-year-old Katherine "Katie" Breanne Cooper (shot to death)
  • 19-year-old Veronika Elizabeth Weiss (shot to death)
  • 20-year-old Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez (shot to death)

Apartment search and aftermath change

 
Rodger made a hand drawing of a person getting stabbed.
 
A final handwritten journal entry Rodger made before his attacks.

Following the attacks, law enforcement obtained a search warrant to conduct a protective sweep of Rodger's apartment. After removing a window screen, authorities looked inside and found Chen's body lying in a fetal position on the bathroom floor.[62][117] They breached the apartment and also found the bodies of Hong and Wang in their bedroom. When they searched Rodger's room, they found it to be in disarray, finding pharmacy documents for prescriptions, two gun cleaning kits, Monster Energy drinks, lottery tickets, a copy of The Art of Seduction, various video games, and a Starbucks coffee cup. Additionally, police found a folding knife, a "zombie killer" knife with a 10-inch blade, an 18-inch blade machete, a sledgehammer, and multiple other knives. They also found a hand-drawn picture of something getting stabbed and a printed copy of Rodger's 137-page manifesto. His laptop was found open to YouTube, displaying his recently uploaded "Retribution" video.[13][26] A handwritten journal was left open to an entry dated May 23, 2014, reading:

I had to tear some pages out because I feared my intentions would be discovered. I taped them back together as fast as I could. This is it. In one hour I will have my revenge on this cruel world. I HATE YOU ALLLL! DIE.[129]

Because of the attacks, some men on social media and in the comment sections of Rodger's YouTube videos expressed empathy with his viewpoints and struggles. Among the comments, there were suggestions that Rodger's situation could have been solved if he had visited a prostitute, while others were convinced that his murder sprees were justified because of women's rejection of him.[92] Rodger's actions has lead to an online following, with some internet users on platforms like 4chan and Reddit idolizing him, referring to him as a "saint" and commemorating "Saint Elliot Day" on the anniversary of his attacks.[138] He brought the incel community into the mainstream, with it having been praised by young men around the world who identify as Incels, believing that they deserved sex.[139]

Tribute songs have been posted, and merchandise such as t-shirts showing a photo of Rodger photo have been created and sold, with some individuals even making videos to showcase the clothes.[138][140] Within incel forums, there's talk of violence against women and sexually successful men, derogatorily referred to as "Chads" and "Stacys."[141] References to "E.R." are common on incel forums, and committing acts of violence is described as "going E.R."[142][143] Additionally, Rodger's name has been invoked by individuals linked to or responsible for other mass killings.[143][144] On April 23, 2018, 25-year-old Alek Minassian carried out an attack in Toronto, Canada, by driving a van through the city, resulting in the deaths of 11 people and 15 others being injured.[144] Before his attack, Minassian posted on his Facebook:

Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger![138][142]

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