GOLETA, California (AP) -- A drive-by shooter went on a nighttime rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded, authorities said Saturday.
The shooter got into two gun battles with deputies Friday night in the beachside community of Isla Vista before crashing his black BMW into a parked car, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.
Deputies found him dead with a gunshot wound to the head, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire or if he committed suicide, he said.
A semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the scene near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Investigators know the gunman’s name, but Brown said he could not release it pending notification of relatives.
“We’re analyzing both written and videotaped evidence that suggests that this atrocity was a premeditated mass murder,” Brown said.
A disturbing YouTube video that shows a young man describing plans to shoot women appears to be connected to the attack, police said. Officials would not say whether the person in the video was a suspect in the shooting.
In the video, posted Friday, the man sits in a black car and looks at the camera, laughing often, and says he is going to take his revenge against humanity. He describes loneliness and frustration because “girls have never been attracted to me,” and says, at age 22, he is still a virgin. The video, which is almost seven minutes long, appears scripted. The identity of the person in the video could not be independently confirmed.
The shootings started around 9:30 p.m. in Isla Vista, a roughly half-square mile (1.3-square kilometer) community next to UC Santa Barbara’s campus and picturesque beachside cliffs.
Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson, was walking out of an improv comedy show when he was shot in front of a popular pizza place. He stumbled into a nearby house.
“He walked into these random guys’ house bleeding,” he said.
Mattera was sitting at a bonfire with friends when at least one gunshot whizzed overhead. The friends ran for cover when they heard the barrage of gunfire.
“We heard so many gunshots, it was unbelievable. I thought they were firecrackers. There had to have been at least like two guns. There were a lot of shots,” he said.
The shootings occurred at several sites, resulting in nine crime scenes, police said.
A visibly shaken student told KEYT-TV she was approached by the driver of a black BMW who flashed a handgun and asked “Hey, what’s up?” The student, who didn’t provide her full name, said she thought he was carrying an airsoft gun and kept walking. She said seconds later, she felt something buzz by her head and quickly realized they were bullets.
Kathrin Schirazi Rad got a call from her 21-year-old son, Adrian Timothy Petersson, who told her in a shaky voice that he had been knocked off his skateboard by a BMW being chased by police about 9 p.m. Friday. He hurt his shoulder, but he went home after being checked by first responders to the scene.
“He was in shock,” said Rad, who lives in Sweden. “He saw some plastic bags and said somebody must have died. He couldn’t confirm anything, he was pretty shaken up. It was so many things happening at the same time.”
The victims’ identities were not immediately released. The injured were being treated for gunshot wounds and traumatic injuries, including at least one person who underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries, Brown said.
Isla Vista has a reputation for excessive partying. Last month, an annual spring bash spiraled into violence as young people clashed with police and tossed rocks and bottles. A university police officer and four deputies were injured and 130 people were arrested.