“We have obtained and we are currently analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder,” Brown said during an early-morning news conference.
Gunfire erupted shortly before 9:30 p.m. in Isla Vista, Calif., an area near the UC Santa Barbara Campus and about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. A shooter fired dozens of shots while driving and walking through the area, leaving behind “a very chaotic series” of nine crime scenes spread across Isla Vista, Brown said.
The first calls to police reporting gunshots came in at 9:27 p.m., Brown said. At the same time, sheriff’s office deputies already in Isla Vista also heard gunshots and found several victims. As they performed first aid, they were given information regarding the shooter and the vehicle that person was using.
Several minutes later, the shooter engaged in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies before fleeing. The shooter was spotted again moments later by another deputy; the shooter and the deputy both fired shots at one another before the shooter fled down the street and eventually crashed into a parked vehicle.
Deputies approached the shooter’s vehicle and found the person inside dead from “an apparent gunshot wound to the head,” Brown said. A semi-automatic handgun was found in the car. But it was unclear whether the shooter was killed by police or the fatal wound was self-inflicted.
Police said they were examining a video posted on YouTube in which a man, sitting in a car, said he had planned an attack in Isla Vista because he was sexually frustrated and had been snubbed by women. The young man, who said he was 22, described himself as a virgin and said he planned an act of retribution because women had not found him attractive.
“We’re investigating that as evidence we believe is connected to the crime,” Brown said.
In the video, which the man said he was making on the eve of the attack, he said he planned to shoot students at a sorority near UC Santa Barbara.
“For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I have been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me,” he said, looking into a camera on the dashboard of his vehicle with palm trees in the background.
“I will punish all of you for it,” he said with a sinister laugh, saying he would enter a sorority. “I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blond slut I see inside there.”
Most of the shooting, however, appeared to take place on the streets.
Xavier Mozejewski told KEYT that it looked like an “old Western shoot-out.”
In total, about 10 minutes passed between the time the first call came to 911 and the moment the shooter was found dead.
The shooting is “heartbreaking,” Brown said. “The problem with an incident like this is, it’s obviously the work of a madman.”
Police have identified the suspect, but aren’t releasing the person’s name yet, Brown said. Though local media outlets said witnesses reported seeing a passenger in the car, authorities are not looking for any other suspects and believe that this shooter acted alone, Brown said.
Authorities are still in the process of identifying the victims who were killed and notifying their next of kin. Seven injured victims were taken to area hospitals and are being treated for gunshot wounds as well as other injuries sustained during the shooting; at least one of these victims has already undergone surgery for a life-threatening injury.
At least some of the injured are students at UC Santa Barbara, the university said in a statement Saturday.
“We have been notified that several of our students were taken to local hospitals last night, but we do not have additional information at this time,” the statement said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those affected.”
The school’s police department is working with the sheriff’s office on the investigation. In addition, the university has established emergency housing for students displaced by the shooting and the investigation.
Police already had a beefed up law-enforcement presence in Isla Vista on Friday night, Brown said. The area is known for its partying; last month, a party turned into a riot that saw multiple people arrested and dozens hospitalized. As a result, there were more officers in Isla Vista than there would have been on another night of the week, he said.