Santa Barbara deputies were convinced that Elliot Rodger, who killed six innocent people and himself during a shooting rampage in Isla Vista Friday, wasn’t a threat following a welfare check last month, Sheriff Bill Brown revealed.
Concerned family members of Elliot Rodger contacted mental health professionals in April, Bill Brown said. When his agency was notified, deputies were sent to check on Elliot Rodger.
“He convinced them that it was all a misunderstanding,” Bill Brown told NBC4.
Though Elliot Rodger told deputies that he was having social problems and was likely going to leave school, “he was able to convince them that he was not a threat to himself or to anyone else at the time”.
On Friday, Elliot Rodger stabbed three people in his apartment and then killed three more in a killing spree that stretched for several blocks in the small beachside community.
Prior to the rampage, Elliot Rodger recounted his life in detail, dwelling on rejection by women and laying out his plans for vengeance. His plans for the rampage are detailed in the manifesto, including steps to kill people first at his apartment, then throughout Isla Vista before taking his own life.
Authorities hope to learn from the miscues between Santa Barbara County’s mental health services and law enforcement to prevent tragedies like this from happening again, Bill Brown said.
“Certainly in hindsight, we wish that had happened, but unfortunately in this case it didn’t,” he said.
Bill Brown said another key in stopping situations like Friday’s shooting before they occur rests with mental health professionals who have a deep insight and can identify potentially dangerous issues.
“It’s a delicate balance that has to be achieved because you want to be able to intervene, you want to be able to prevent something like this,” Bill Brown said.
“You also want to encourage people to seek mental health treatment, and if you stigmatize people by placing restrictions on them…that actually serves as a deterrent for people seeking mental health treatment.”
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