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Seven Dead, Several Hospitalized in Isla Vista Shootings

By Beth Farnsworth, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Anchor/Reporter, beth.farnsworth@keyt.com
Published On: May 24 2014 12:06:28 AM CDT
Updated On: May 24 2014 06:45:34 PM CDT

In total, the sheriff confirmed seven people were killed, including the gunman; seven others are hospitalized either with gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries -- one with life-threatening injuries; there are nine separate crime scenes.

ISLA VISTA, Calif. -

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown revealed new details about Friday night's drive by shootings in Isla Vista during a Saturday morning news conference, including a new death toll and a possible link to an ominous YouTube video.

Brown said the initial call came in to dispatch at 9:27 p.m. Friday night as multiple gunshots.

Deputies in the area found several victims and received information about the suspect and vehicle involved.

Witnesses described seeing a black BMW speeding through the streets, spraying bullets at people and various targets near El Embarcadero and Segovia Roads and the top of the loop along Del Playa.

Brown said at 9:33 p.m. the suspect exchanged gunfire with deputies then veered down Del Playa and crashed into a parked car. Deputies found the suspect inside the BMW dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Brown said he did not know if the suspect was shot and killed by deputies or if the wound was self-inflicted.

The sheriff said a semi automatic handgun was recovered from the scene and believes the suspect acted alone.

In total, the sheriff confirmed seven people were killed, including the gunman; seven others are hospitalized either with gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries -- one with life-threatening injuries; there are nine separate crime scenes.

Gallery

The time frame between the first 911 call to the discovery of the dead suspect was ten minutes.

Multiple witnesses say they saw two people inside the suspect's vehicle, however, during the press conference, Sheriff Brown would neither confirm nor deny whether there was a passenger in the car.

At this time, the sheriff is not releasing the suspect's name, although he has been identified.

Brown called the suspect "severely mentally disturbed" and said, "This was a premeditated mass murder."

Word on the street quickly spread about an ominous YouTube video posted by a young man who identified himself as Elliot Rodger, titled "Retribution." The nearly seven minute long rant blasts women who've ignored or rejected him over the past eight years and warns that he will "punish you all for it."

When questioned about the video during the news conference, Sheriff Brown indicated investigators were familiar with it and are looking into whether Roger was connected with the crime.

The victims include someone who was shot dead inside the I.V. Delimart on Pardall Road. The market windows are pocked with bullet holes. Another crime scene is marked near the 7-11 convenience store.

Xavier Mozejewski told NewsChannel 3 reporter Victoria Sanchez that he witnessed some of the violence and described it as an "old western shoot-out."

Michael Vitak, a student from the Czech Republic, told Sanchez what he witnessed.

"Guys in a BMW. Maybe they were trying to prove they're tough," Vitak said during a live televised interview. Vitak saw them shooting at two girls; one was shot dead, the other was critically hurt.

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

Vitak said it was too dark to see the suspects' faces.

About the same time the drive-by shootings occurred, the California Highway Patrol website logged a hit and run along Del Playa that left someone with major leg and head trauma.

NewsChannel 3 senior reporter John Palminteri said via phone, "It is a horrible scene out here."

Palminteri described multiple ambulances, a black BMW that slammed into as many as two cars, and a body covered with a yellow tarp lying in the road on Del Playa. He indicated the deceased may have been shot by a deputy or police officer.

By 12:15 a.m. Saturday morning, Palminteri updated viewers that he'd seen a total of four body bags.

One woman identified as Sierra told Sanchez she was approached by two men in a black BMW. The driver flashed a small black handgun and asked '"Hey, what's up?"'

Sierra, who was visibly shaken, said she thought it was an airsoft gun and kept walking. She said seconds later, she felt something buzz by her head and quickly realized they were bullets. Three or four of them.

Sierra said she ran into a nearby home filled with strangers and explained what happened. She looked down and saw her iPhone had been shattered.

Brown said the scope of the investigation has allied agencies working together, including UC Police, the California Highway Patrol, Santa Barbara Police, investigators with the District Attorney's Office, California State Parks law enforcement and criminalists with the Department of Justice crime lab.

The sheriff is asking for the public's help with the investigation and offered the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Tipline to anyone with information: 805-681-4171.

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