crimesider

Family friend of UCSB shooter: "He was the loneliest person I had ever seen"

While the parents of Elliot Rodger, who killed six University of California at Santa Barbara students in a bloody rampage before ending how own life, are in seclusion, a longtime friend is telling their side of the story. Simon Astaire said Rodger showed no violent tendencies before the attack, but struck him as the "loneliest person" he'd ever encountered, reports CBS News' John Blackstone.

On the night that Rodger brought terror and death to the streets of Santa Barbara, his parents raced in separate cars to try to stop him.

"In each car they are listening to the radio and they are hearing that there's been a massacre in Santa Barbara. They then talk about black BMW, and Elliot has a black BMW, and Peter said to me that during that drive, he knew that his son had caused this," Astaire said.

Astaire had met Rodger as a friend of Peter Rodger, his father.

"He was a boy that was unbearably removed. He hardly joined in conversation, and when he replied to something, he looked startled. I thought he was the loneliest person I had ever seen in my life," he said.

In a worrisome video posted to YouTube in the weeks before the rampage, Rodger said he'd been "forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires."

His family feels a sense of responsibility, Astaire said.

"Inwardly I think we must do when something like this happens. But I think where they can be at peace with all this, and it's the truth, is that since he was 9 years old, they have tried to help him," Astaire said. "They are mourning more for the innocents that didn't return on Friday night than the life of their son."

Following the attack, Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher was killed, called for stricter gun control in an emotional plea.

"Too many have died! ... Not one more!" Martinez said.

Astaire said Rodger's father would like to meet him.

"I think Mr. Martinez, even the way he speaks is clearly a passionate, wonderful man in deep grief. They share that, and we'll bring them together, and maybe they will have a voice together," he said.

Last month Rodger's mother alerted the Santa Barbara sheriff that her son may be a danger, but deputies determined there was no reason for concern.

Astaire said the parents do not blame the sheriff's department for not being more aggressive in investigating their son.

"I haven't heard one word of blame. Elliot fooled everyone for a very, very long time and ultimately that's what he did with the police."

Rodger fooled even his family when he expressed hatred toward women in his manifesto, Astaire said..

"I've asked Peter about that and I think he was in search of a girlfriend. It had shocked Peter to hear of that aggression towards women or even the way that he must have looked to women in his household. He did not know this side of his son."

Astaire said it will be a painful and irreparable grief for Rodger's family.

"Quite seriously they are unable to string a sentence together. The memories of their son are going to be very difficult to have any loving memories of him."

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