Could sheriff’s deputies have prevented Isla Vista killings?
March 3, 2015
The parents of three murdered college students are suing Santa Barbara County and it sheriff’s office, as well as an Isla Vista apartment complex and its parent company, alleging that they hold partial responsibility for the killing spree carried out last year by Elliot Rodger.
Los Angeles law firms Becker Law Group and McNicholas & McNicholas filed the lawsuit in federal court. The suit faults sheriff’s deputies for failing to perform a gun background check while examining Rodger’s welfare less than a month before the killing spree.
“At that time, Mr. Rodger had a cache of weapons and ammunition in his room and commented in his diary that he was relieved the deputies didn’t check his room because his plan would have been ruined,” a press release about the lawsuit states.
The three victims, whose deaths are the subject of the lawsuit, died due to stab wounds, according to the sheriff’s report on Rodger’s crime spree. Weihang Wang, Chen Hong and George Chen suffered 15, 25 and 94 stab wounds respectively, the sheriff’s report states.
Both Wong and Hong were Rodger’s roommates. Chen was at Rodger’s apartment when the killing spree began.
The suit also faults sheriff’s deputies for failing to watch videos that Rodger had posted on YouTube. A mental health worker tipping the sheriff’s office about the videos prompted the welfare check, the suit alleges.
Isla Vista complex Capri Apartments also failed to perform a proper background check, according to the suit. The plaintiffs also accuse the complex of not conducting a reasonable investigation of Rodger and of failing to warn Rodger’s roommates of his unstable and violent tendencies.
Rodger shot three students to death after stabbing the men in his apartment. He then killed himself during a gun battle with deputies.