Victims mourned after Hollywood director's son kills six

SANTA BARBARA (AFP) - Clusters of candles and flowers appeared overnight Saturday to Sunday on the streets of the California town where a Hollywood director's disturbed son killed six people and then himself.

The mementos, along with makeshift signs, were placed at the spots where the gunman - identified as Elliot Rodger, 22 - shot and killed three people late Friday in the town of Isla Vista, outside the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Rodger "repeatedly stabbed" three male victims at his apartment before going on the shooting rampage that wounded 13 others, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said at a press conference. The survivors were rushed to area hospitals.

Thousands of students and community members sang "Amazing Grace" at a Saturday evening candlelight vigil at the university campus to mourn the victims and try to make sense of the mayhem. The shooter was a student at the nearby City College.

Rodger's father is Peter Rodger, an assistant director of the 2012 Hollywood blockbuster, "The Hunger Games".

Lawyer Alan Shifman, speaking for the Rodger family, said Elliot Rodger had been diagnosed as being a "highly functional Asperger's Syndrome child" and was being treated by "multiple" professionals.

Rodger left tortuous manifestos in print and videos posted online explaining his motive.

In a nearly seven-minute long YouTube rant titled "Elliot Rodger's Retribution," the shooter, sitting in a car, complains about women who rejected and ignored him, and vowed to "punish you all for it".

"I'm 22 years old and I'm still a virgin. I've never even kissed a girl," he says.

Rodger speaks of his life of "loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires".

"I don't know why you girls aren't attracted to me," he asks, "but I will punish you all for it."

He said that he would go to a student sorority house and "slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde s*** I see inside there. All those girls that I've desired so much, they have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man".

Police said that Rodger pounded on the door of a sorority house. He was unable to enter, but shot three young women who were outside.

Rodger also posted a well-written, 140-page manifesto-autobiography titled "My Twisted World".

In the document, which starts at his birth, includes reference to his favourite childhood movie ("The Land Before Time"), his mixed heritage - his mother is Malaysian of Chinese descent - and multiple references to the action-packed "World of Warcraft" video game.

Police chased Rodger soon after the shooting broke out and exchanged gunfire with him.

As he was fleeing Rodger shot indiscriminately at passers-by, struck a cyclist, and finally came to a stop when he crashed his BMW into several parked cars.

Rodger "was obviously dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head", Brown said.

Police recovered three nine-millimeter semi-automatic handguns from the BMW - all legally purchased and registered - and Rodger had dozens of unused rounds of ammunition.

One of the fatalities was named as 20-year-old student Christopher Martinez.

Richard Martinez, Christopher's father, choked up as he paid tribute to his son and blamed politicians and the gun lobby. "When will this insanity stop?" he asked in an emotional speech.

"Our family has a message for every parent out there: you don't think it'll happen to your child until it does," he said, his face contorted with despair and rage.

"Chris was a really great kid, ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken."

Shaking with emotion, Martinez excoriated politicians and the powerful National Rifle Association.

"Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA," Martinez said, raising his voice.

"They talk about gun rights. What about Chris's right to live? When will this insanity stop?"