LOS ANGELES - Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies checking on Elliot Rodger three weeks before he killed six college students were aware of, but didn't view, disturbing videos that prompted calls about his well-being, the agency disclosed Thursday.
A statement from the sheriff's office provides new details on the sequence of events during that pivotal visit, a time when Rodger was planning the rampage that would also leave 13 wounded. The guns he would use in the killings were stashed inside his apartment at the time.
The office was not aware of and did not receive his manifesto and final video, in which he details plans to kill people, until an hour after the shooting, the statement said.
On April 30, four deputies, a police officer and a dispatcher in training were sent to Rodger's apartment after being informed by the county's mental health hotline that Rodger's therapist and mother were concerned about videos he posted online.
The visit lasted about 10 minutes, during which officers found him shy and polite. The deputies questioned him about what the statement described as "disturbing" videos, but Rodger told them he was having trouble fitting in socially and the videos were "merely a way of expressing himself," the statement said.
Because the deputies concluded he was not a threat to himself or others, they never viewed the videos.
That sequence of events is different from a statement Sunday from spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, who said "the sheriff's office was not aware of any videos until after the shooting rampage occurred."
In a typical mental health check, only two deputies would be dispatched. But deputies who were familiar with Rodger as a victim in a January petty theft case also went to his apartment.