The Agony of Peter Rodger, a Dad Whose Son Became a Mass Killer


Elliot Rodger's Rage Began Long Before Santa Barbara Shooting

Elliot had had problems, "but they weren't things that I would consider overly worrisome -- or that he would ever be a threat to himself or he would be a threat to other people," his father said. Like a lot of kids, he wanted to be part of the cool crowd but had trouble fitting in. His parents moved him from school to school, trying to find a place where Elliot could succeed.

His father said he had very few friends in elementary school. He was quiet and shy. He also had "a certain OCD" about him, always putting his plate in the same place at the dinner table, always wearing the same clothes. There was a suggestion that Elliot might have had Asperger's syndrome, though he was never formally diagnosed.

Elliot said in his journal that his rage began to build even as a youngster as the son of a Hollywood insider with a front row seat to the entertainment industry's most powerful and glamorous.

PHOTO: Investigators examine the car driven by Elliot Rodgers on May 24, 2014, the day after his killing spree in Isla Vista, Calif.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Investigators examine the car driven by Elliot Rodgers on May 24, 2014, the day after his killing spree in Isla Vista, Calif.

"My little 9-year-old self realized that there were hierarchies, that some people were better than others. Jealousy and envy…those are two feelings that would dominate my entire life and bring me immense pain," Elliot wrote.

But Elliot hid that pain well, his father claims.

"If he were sitting here right now, you would think, 'What a polite boy he was,'" Peter Rodger said. "But yet, he had this thing going on inside of him."

Peter Rodger said he never had an inkling that his son harbored a lethal rage inside him.

"There's no way I thought that this boy could hurt a flea. He'd never, ever been violent or showed any violent tendencies ever, ever," he said.

"I think that his mind was taken over by a disease," his father has concluded.

"This is the horror story… when you have somebody who on the outside is one thing, and on the inside is something completely different. And you don't see it." Peter Rodger

The lonely young boy had become an introverted teenager. By the age of 13, Elliot had walled himself into the fictional cyberworld of "World of Warcraft." His constant companions were the heroes and villains of the online fantasy game.

In high school, Elliot was bullied, though his father said Elliot would never talk about it with him. There were incidents when food was thrown at him, incidents when he was pushed into lockers. "I was an innocent, scared little boy trapped in a jungle full of malicious predators, and I was shown no mercy," he later wrote in his diary.

He would leave two high schools before landing at the tiny 100-student Independence High.

For all the things that Elliot had — the Black BMW, the designer sunglasses — there was one thing that always eluded him: a girlfriend. And that became his obsession until the very end. "I mean look at me, I'm gorgeous. But you girls don't see it. I don't understand why you're so repulsed by me," Elliot stated in his retribution video before his killing spree.

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