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Santa Barbara Mourns Victims Of Deadly Rampage


We know some more about Friday night's shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Seven people, including the suspect, are dead. Thirteen more were wounded, and nobody can really say why. NPR's Sam Sanders reports.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: St. Mark's University Parish sits just yards away from a few of the locations where the gunman fired shots Friday night. You could say the church is in a strange place, nestled right next to rows of University of California, Santa Barbara frat houses, student housing and liquor stores and pizza joints. But last night at St. Mark's weekly Sunday 7 p.m. student mass, it seemed that the church was exactly where it needed to be.


CHOIR: Amazing grace how sweet the sound...

SANDERS: St. Mark's was full of students and other members of the UCSB community. Father John Love spoke bluntly to their pain.


FATHER JOHN LOVE: We can ask that question that's asked after a tragedy - where was God on Friday night? I can't answer that question. I'm not - I don't pretend to know the answer to those difficult questions. Life sometimes doesn't make sense.

SANDERS: Just two nights before in that same neighborhood, a suspect authorities have identified as Elliot Rodger fatally stabbed three UCSB students at his nearby apartment complex before shooting and killing three more students in the area surrounding St. Mark's. He began shooting just before 9:30 p.m. Friday night outside of a sorority house. The suspect proceeded through the neighborhood and fired shots outside of a deli. Sam Hassan, who manages that deli, said on Sunday that he knew the suspect. He ordered food there almost daily.


SAM HASSAN: He was really very polite - very nice guy. He doesn't talk too much but, you know, you talk to him and he nods and smiles and he leaves you. He was really, really a nice guy.

SANDERS: After shooting at that deli, Roger continued firing from his black BMW throughout the neighborhood. He hit pedestrians and bikers with the car and engaged in a gunfight with authorities. He later crashed and was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Just hours before the rampage, Rodger emailed the 140 page manifesto to his family and others, calling for a day of retribution where he would take revenge for not being able to find a girlfriend and for women not having sex with him. Roger also posted several YouTube videos where he spoke of his sexual frustrations and his desire to take them out on humanity.


ELLIOT RODGER: It's not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don't know why you girls aren't attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.

SANDERS: A member of Rodgers family alerted authorities of his behavior and police visited his apartment in late April, but they didn't search his room. Roger in his manifesto wrote that had police searched his apartment and found his guns, it would have been, quote, "all over." Sunday night, third year of UCSB student, Stephanie Lue (PH) spoke for many.


STEPHANIE LUE: It's definitely been really - an emotional roller coaster to say the least.

SANDERS: And Lue says professors have seen that and are giving students some leniency on class work.


LUE: Some of my professors have emailed out to be like, hey, if you need to take it easy this weekend, no worries, we understand. And just checking in on us to make sure that we were safe.

SANDERS: But the school year isn't over until mid-June. In the coming days, the UCSB community shaken so deeply will have to get back to work. Sam Sanders, NPR News, Santa Barbara. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.