SEATTLE (CBS Seattle/AP) — A Seattle family found out that their 19-year-old daughter died in the California mass shooting after activating a phone tracking app.
Bob Weiss, father of University of California, Santa Barbara freshman Veronika Weiss, realized their daughter was at the crime scene after activating an iPhone tracking app in an effort to find her after the shooting.
“We got to the border of the crime scene and we turned it on again,” Weiss told KING-TV. “We could actually see the phone moving which we assume was Veronika’s body being moved to the coroner’s truck.”
Weiss said 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed his daughter after pounding on the door of a UCSB sorority house. Veronika Weiss was with her sorority sister when they were shot as they were getting ready for a charity event.
“The shooter pounded on the door of the sorority. No one would let him in. He ran around the corner right into the face of these girls and just started firing on them. My guess is at very close range,” he told KING.
Weiss added that it’s too easy to buy guns in the U.S.
“The kids keep dying. The guns keep showing up everywhere,” Weiss told KING. “It seems like you can buy a gun as easily as you can get a Slurpee at 7/11. That’s just too dangerous.”
Authorities conclude that Rodger stabbed three victims in his apartment, shot and killed three others at random, and injured 13 more either with gunshots or a car that he used as a battering ram against bicyclists and skateboarders.
The mayhem unfolded within just one square mile near the college campus, but included 12 crime scenes.
The killings began with the stabbings in the apartment that Rodger rented, inside a two-story courtyard building fronted by palm trees. Authorities said Sunday that Cheng Yuan Hong, 20; George Chen, 19; Weihan Wang, 20, were killed Friday. All were from the San Francisco Bay Area and were students at the university. Hong and Chen were listed on the apartment lease, but it’s unclear if Wang was a roommate or just visiting.
Rodger then drove five blocks to the Alpha Phi sorority house, authorities say.
In rambling writings he titled “My Twisted World,” Rodger detailed his plan to kill his roommates and then invade the sorority, which he concluded symbolized the world that tortured him — beautiful women who would have spurned him in favor of the “obnoxious slobs” whom he also despised.
“I will sneak into their house at around 9:00 p.m. on the Day of Retribution, just before all the partying starts, and slaughter every single one of them,” Rodger wrote. He knew the stucco house, with its neatly trimmed lawn and hedges, well: “I’ve sat outside it in my car to stalk them many times.”
The double front door is heavy wood, with glass etchings of the sorority’s shield and an electronic keypad to get in. Several women heard Rodger’s “aggressive knocking,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. “Fortunately, no one opened.”
Moments later came the first 911 call.
It was 9:27 p.m., and Rodger had left the door and within 20 paces encountered a group that included Veronika Weiss and Katherine Cooper. He shot and killed the two UCSB students, and wounded a third.
All three were from the Delta Delta Delta sorority. The outgoing Cooper was preparing to graduate with a degree in art history; Weiss was a first-year student who had played water polo in high school.
Two blocks and three minutes later, Rodger was at a local deli. There, he got out of his car, went inside and shot and killed Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez. Friends described him as the kind of person who would welcome strangers into his home. He planned to study abroad and then go to law school.
At least four other customers were inside, and surveillance video shows them scrambling for cover while a bullet hits the glass of a refrigerator door.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and saw Rodger’s BMW leaving, but did not know the shooter was at the wheel.
Soon after, Rodger was driving on the left side of another road so that he could be close to the sidewalk as he fired at two pedestrians.
And then, more shots — this time between Rodger and the first sheriff’s deputy to engage with him.
Meanwhile, Ryan Ellis was wrapping up his Friday night service at Isla Vista Church, a makeshift house of worship inside a beach home on a street filled with students — and on Friday night, parties.
A few dozen young adults were getting ready for hamburgers when shots rang out. Fireworks, someone said.
“I knew right away it was gunshots,” said Ellis, who said he had been a Navy combat engineer in Afghanistan.
He ran out to the street and saw a cyclist lying on the ground, but no car around. “He was pretty messed up, lying up against a vehicle,” said Ellis.
The cyclist, who was not identified, was one of two whom Rodger intentionally smashed with his car.
By now, officers were yelling at people to go inside and friends were texting friends not to go out.
After shooting at more pedestrians, Rodger encountered four sheriff’s deputies running through a park. Three returned fire, and a bullet hit Rodger in his left hip, authorities said.
Speeding on, Rodger accelerated and hit another cyclist, who was thrown onto the hood with a force that crumpled the windshield. Rodger’s car then careened into several parked vehicles. It was there, in the car, that he apparently shot himself, leaving three semi-automatic handguns and 400 unspent rounds.
“The police dragged a body out of the car,” said UC Santa Barbara senior Kyley Scarlet, who was in a house next to where the car came to a halt. “It was him.”
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