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Father of US shooter Elliot Rodger sets up website on mental illness

Published on Jun 29, 2014 11:40 AM
Women hug next to a chalk message that reads "World give us love and time to heal" outside a deli that was one of nine crime scenes after series of drive-by shootings that left seven people dead in the Isla Vista neighbourhood of Santa Barbara, California on May 26, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Waking to the reality that his son Elliot was involved in the Isla Vista killing spree in Santa Barbara, California, last month is too painful for Hollywood filmmaker Peter Rodger to bear.

Mr Rodger has set up the AskForHelp.org website to share information and resources pertaining to mental illness as a means of preventing future mass killings.

Elliot, one of two children Mr Rodger had with his ex-wife, Penang-born Ong Li Chin, went on a rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded near the University of California on May 23, before fatally shooting himself.

The incident happened after the 22-year-old uploaded on YouTube a "final retribution" video outlining his plans and reasons for the killings.

Madam Ong, 53, was said to have tried to stop her son from committing grave mistakes after receiving, via e-mail, his lengthy manifesto detailing his plans and frustrations. Elliot had repeatedly whined about being a virgin in the videos.

Mr Rodger, 49, said on his website: "About one in four Americans suffers from mental illness in any given year. It's time we removed the stigma of asking for help.

"For a start, we are providing resources and asking you to share your story so that we may help one another," he said.

Mr Rodger never thought that Elliot would become a mass murderer because his son did not look like someone who would even hurt a flea.

The father had also poured his heart out in a letter posted on the website.

"It has been one month and three days since my son, Elliot, did the unthinkable.

"There has not been one conscious second that I haven't been thinking about the pain and suffering he caused for so many,'' he wrote.

"I feel for the victims and their families more than for the loss of my own son.

"I do mourn for the lonely boy Elliot was, who disappeared because of a monster of an illness in him that none of us knew was so severe.

"It will be a long journey involving the personal choices of individuals and families, public discussions, mental health reforms, a change in the culture - you name it.

"My simple message is, if in doubt about a family member, please ask for help," he said.

In an interview with American TV host Barbara Walters aired on Friday as an ABC prime-time special, Mr Rodger described the incident as the world's horror story.

"It is when you have somebody who on the outside is one thing, and on the inside is something completely different and you don't see it," he said during the exclusive interview.