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Outbreak of Violence in Isla Vista, California Takes Away Six Lives and Leaves 13 Wounded; Dr. Jeff Gardere on Elliot Rodger's Personality and Possible Reasons For Rampage; Interview with Jerry Mathers; Weather for Memorial Day

Aired May 25, 2014 - 06:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: 30 minutes past the hour right now. We're so glad that we have your company here today. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, and there's new details this morning about the beginning of this killing spree, this tragic event that happened in Isla Vista, started Friday night. Sheriff's officials say this massacre started at the apartment of Elliot Rodger, where he stabbed three men to death before killing three more in a drive-by shooting and injuring 13 others on the streets of Isla Vista.

PAUL: Police say 22-year-old Rodger left behind a 140-page manifesto detailing what he felt was a life of rejection by women and sexual frustration, along with a chilling YouTube video detailing his plan of attack.

BLACKWELL: At a press conference the Santa Barbara sheriff did not mince words, calling Rodger severely disturbed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In reading this 141-page, rambling autobiographical almost a combination of an autobiography and a diary, it's very apparent of the severe extent of how disturbed Mr. Rodger was, and the fact that he had been and was continuing to be seen by a variety of different health care professionals, but it's very, very apparent that he was severely mentally disturbed.


BLACKWELL: And we have a copy of it here, and the sheriff there calls it rambling but it is organized here.

PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: I mean he starts with an introduction and in part one, age zero through 5 and goes through complains about height and women and his parents, and video games, so that manifesto people are looking through that now, trying to answer the question of why, but you know, we know that last month a member of Elliot Rodger's family asked law enforcement officers to check on his welfare. PAUL: They knew, obviously. Police did go to his home. This is the thing, and they say they found Elliot Rodger "polite and courteous." They didn't search his apartment, but listen to his family's statement, this coming after the killing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Rodger family offers their deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy. We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain and our hearts go out to everybody involved.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Sara Sidner joins us live from Isla Vista. Sara, we're learning more about what happened there and what happened before those initial stabbings with this Elliot Rodger. What's happening there this morning?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to show you what's happening here, because the students here and the people of Isla Vista have been so struck by this, so affected by this, and what we're seeing now as you know, there are ten crime scenes, what we're seeing now is in the places where the victims were killed, there are growing memorials. You can see the one that's grown here at the Ivy Deli Mart. This is where Christopher Martinez died, lost his life. People bringing candles, bringing flowers. People are coming by. The city never sleeps. It's a student town, lots of students still out here, 24-hour cafes. They're walking back and forth. It is just remarkable how people have reacted to this, but certainly disturbing.

All the students rattled by all of this, all the people of this town wondering if something could have been done. You mentioned the fact that he, the suspect, Elliot Rodger, had several contacts with police this year, three, in fact, and it's interesting to note the details of those. One of them he called police himself, he was in the hospital saying that he was attacked. Police looked into that, and investigated it, but all of those charges or anything was dropped, it did not go forward with that case because they determined that he was indeed the aggressor in that situation.

Then there was another contact where he made a citizen's arrest. You don't hear about that every day. He made a citizen's arrest on a roommate, according to the sheriff, because the roommate, he said, had stolen $22 worth of candles. Now, his roommate was actually booked into the jail, and then there was one more contact, where police said that family members of Elliot Rodger, the suspect, called up and were concerned about him and wanted someone to check on him. Police went to check on him and they said he was very polite and they left. Nothing further until we heard what happened here in Isla Vista.

BLACKWELL: Well we all know the cliche that hindsight is 20/20, but those three elements, those three incidents didn't stop what happened on Friday night in Isla Vista. Sara Sidner there life for us this morning. Sara, thank you.

Those first shots rang out at 9:27 p.m. Pacific time in Isla Vista, again that was Friday night.

PAUL: The next ten minutes, though, that's what had to have seemed like an eternity for these people as the gunman weaves down the street to shooting at victims until his car finally crashed. In fact, listen to some people who were there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired, shots fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like lifted up little black pistol ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't - thought it was like an airsoft gun or something, so I was like, hey, like and turned around and started walking the other way. He shot and I felt, I just felt the wind like pass right by my face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple gunshot victims in front of Ivy Deli.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was outside of a restaurant convenience store called Ivy Deli Mart and there were maybe a group of six, seven, eight people eating out in front of it, and he stopped in front of it and fired upon the group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we need a second ambulance for another gunshot wound, at 8653 Pandall (ph), I.V. Deli Mart, Code three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Might be another, another gunshot to the chest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a girl right here, and she was really, really struggling. You can tell she was just barely able to move her eyes and then there was another girl right here and she was kind of like laying down crouched. She immediately got on the phone with her mother and was telling her mother about how much she loved her and she wasn't sure that he was going to make it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Witness of a dark colored BMW, one occupant, a male, wearing a white shirt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard a loud crash and about, you know, close to 30 rounds of gunfire, and I looked outside and I saw the BMW had crashed in the parked cars on the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The car passed by me and my friend, barely missed her and IT hit the guy right behind us, like literally flipped him from the street to the sidewalk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw one cop rush to the car. The policeman cleared out the car. I saw the driver get pulled out. He looked very hurt. I mean, to me he was either unconscious or already dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently the sheriff's office is not looking for any additional suspects. We believe this suspect acted alone. This incident appears to be a mass murder situation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: Back now to our continuing coverage of that deadly California rampage. Police have identified now 22-year-old Elliot Rodger as the shooter.

PAUL: And right now they are combing through the evidence that he left behind including a chilling YouTube video.


ELLIOT RODGER: Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge against humanity.


BLACKWELL: For nearly seven minutes, Rodger talks about feeling rejected and he talks about his plan to kill. He gives details. These pictures are from Rodger's Facebook page.

PAUL: Also new this morning, CNN has obtained a 141-page manifesto written by Rodger titled "My Twisted World." Let's talk about this with clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, OK, so we've got it here with us. And it is - it's crazy thick and as you mentioned, it is organized into, you know, the parameters of his world from the time he was born until really the time that he died and Dr. Gardere, I'm wondering, you know, when we look back, say at Sandy Hook and Adam Lanza who we know tried to destroy evidence in that case, here we have got a shooter who almost wants us to know everything. What does this tell you about his psyche and would this have been treatable, I want to say, because it goes all the way back to his birth.


PAUL: He was holding onto hatred that was obviously very deep.

DR. JEFF GARDERE: Well, with Adam Lanza it was, this was a person who had multiple mental health issues, and certainly pervasive developmental issues and so on and therefore shied away completely from society. Didn't want to be part, could not be part of it. But with Elliot Rodger, what we are seeing, is an individual who desired to be with other people, who desired to be in society, but always felt like he was being rejected. So, he had a sense of grandeur and overwhelming sense that he was better than everyone else, but no one could recognize it. And so, when he goes on his rant as to how much he hates women, he really wanted to be with women and therefore wanted the world to know his pain, and that his revenge was part of the pain that he was going to have other people experience that he always had.

BLACKWELL: The true hatred of women. I want to read a part of that reference to that. Let's put it up on the screen. "Future generations of men would be oblivious to these remaining women's existence and that is for the best. If a man grows up without knowing of the existence of women, there will be no desire for sex. Sexuality will completely cease to exist. Love will cease to exist. There will no longer be any imprint of such concepts in the human psyche. It is the only way to purify the world." Another thing that he did not write here is that humankind would cease to exist if you get rid of all the women. I don't know if he thought that far but this doesn't develop overnight, right? There has to be some signs, some signal to someone around in 22 years that this was something that he was obsessed about.

GARDERE: Yes, Victor, and certainly what we're seeing, unlike Adam Lanza, who developed a schizophrenia at some point in his life, this individual seemed to have what we call a very severe personality disorder, something that develops throughout a lifetime. You don't see the hallucinations, auditory or visual, that you'll see with someone who's psychotic or schizophrenic. This is a person who's stuck in the cognition of being completely inappropriate, who is totally self-centered, where the universe must fit his view. It's his planet. We're only living in it with him.

And so since he is that center of the universe, this is an individual who feels that anything that anyone does that does not fit his view, well that person becomes an enemy. He picks on women throughout this whole thing, but this was a person who was afraid of puberty, who was afraid of sex, and therefore, women became a symbol of what he hated but as you stated correctly, this is a person who hated humanity.

PAUL: Well, the other thing that struck me was the fact that there was this welfare check done on him just three and a half weeks ago by officials whom his parents had called and they had seen some suicidal messages apparently on social media by him, but they said he was polite. I mean, he fooled them. He obviously fooled a lot of people. Are they that good at acting? Is it common for somebody who has these issues, these mental issues to be that good to fool everyone?

GARDERE: Well, certainly this was a narcissistic personality, and Christie, as you've seen with this manifesto, and Victor commented on it - it was well written, it was written like a book. This person is almost an author, because it is his world, his view of his world. So, it is easier for these individuals to be able to fool medical officials, law enforcement officials and that's why it's so difficult to treat them. There's no medication for a personality disorder. Especially one with delusional thinking. So, this person came off as being totally healthy when he was checked with this welfare check by the police. However, I do not want to point fingers here. If they were able to triangulate, in other words, go back and look at his record, July 21st he was treated for injuries, but was seen as the instigator, that was in 2013.


GARDERE: Yeah, January 15th, 2014, he made a citizens' arrest, which was weird in itself, for stealing, his roommate stealing three candles. This was a kid who came from wealth. So, when they did that welfare check on April 30th 2014, if they looked at his previous contacts with the police certainly they would have had more of an indicator that his parents or family saying check on this kid was certainly a red flag, so the dots were not connected here. Again, I'm not pointing fingers ...


PAUL: Sure.

GARDERE: But I think we all as society need to do a better job with these situations.

BLACKWELL: Well, Dr. Gardere, we also want to talk about videogames which he cites in the manifesto. I know there will be people who say why are you bringing this up now? Well, in the 141-page document he references by name "World of Warcraft" 41 times. I know because I went through and counted and there are specific references to the game in that video I want to talk to you about ...

PAUL: And on YouTube.

BLACKWELL: And on the YouTube, yeah, that YouTube video. Dr. Jeff Gardere, we are going to talk more in the next hour.

GARDERE: Already.

BLACKWELL: And we'll continue our coverage of this tragic rampage, 13 people injured, six killed and add to that Elliot Rodger himself, making it number seven, our coverage continues after the break.


BLACKWELL: Let's take a trip back in time. Five decades ago, in the 1960s, there were only three network channels and those signals went off the air at primetime. Remember, this is the end of our broadcast day, and they played the "Star-Spangled Banner" and then go to snow. Well, in those days families huddled around the set for news and to be entertained by shows like "Leave It to Beaver" a sitcom. The first time people heard about situation comedy on television. About real life family values written from a child perspective. Jerry Mathers played the child called the Beaver, "The Beav." And I asked him what impact his show had on Americans back in those days.

JERRY MATHERS, ACTOR: You know, I think it was something that was brand new. People were absolutely astonished, because they were used to radio, where they would just hear people, and never got to see them. They could go to the movies, but to be able to bring television into your home was just a phenomenal idea. In fact, when television first came out, people used to stand in front of electronic stores viewing in the window just because they couldn't believe that they were seeing some of their favorite stars. And it was almost like they were right next to them.

BLACKWELL: What was the impact of the Cleaver family on America then?

MATHERS: You know, the Cleaver family was a real life family. All the episodes of "Leave It to Beaver" in their kernel are from real life. So, they just weren't people, and I think that's what happens on a lot of these shows today, they weren't people going in and writing jokes. We didn't care if there were laughs or not. They were trying to write a very, very good show that had a moral to it, and it was something that not only appealed to adults but also to kids. BLACKWELL: And to that end, how has scripted television changed over the last 50 years, from your perspective?

MATHERS: Well, from my perspective, it's much more salacious now. You know, people -- the more things you can get on, a lot of times the people that you're watching, you've heard about them not because of the show they've done, but possibly because of the troubles they've had with the law and other things, so television was a completely different type. It was situation comedy. You sat there for a half hour. It wasn't people just going out and being themselves on what we call so-called reality TV, because a lot of that is very much scripted and not scripted, but they create the situations to be able to create drama. "Leave It to Beaver" is all from real life. Now, I'm not saying that all that happened to just one kid, but the base, the kernel of each story is things that really happened to kids.

BLACKWELL: What do you watch today?

MATHERS: You know, I hate to tell you, but I watch you, guys, all the time. For the most part I watch the financial networks and I - my wife will tell you, I'm a news junkie. I like to know what's going on in the world, and I manage my own finances, so I do watch a lot of the financial networks.

BLACKWELL: So, one of the icons of situation comedies doesn't watch sitcoms.

MATHERS: You know what? Most of the things that I see today, I just, I don't find them all that funny.

BLACKWELL: Watch the CNN original series "The '60s" Thursday, May 29TH at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, that is the premiere right here on CNN. Christi?

PAUL: And Victor, we have a lot to talk about in regard to Elliot Rodger, the shooter, and the people in Isla Vista who are now trying to overcome everything there this morning. We're going to take you live to Isla Vista and see how people are coping today and what we're going to do going forward. Stay put.


BLACKWELL: The NBA playoffs continue as four teams are left battling for the championship. Last night was game three of the Eastern Conference finals between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, and after falling behind 15 early in the game, the Heat were forced to play catchup to protect their home court advantage. LeBron James led the way with 26 points but it was Ray Allen who rallied in the fourth quarter with 13 of the 16 points including a perfect four from four from behind the three-point line. The Heat lead the series 2 to one. Game four is tomorrow night in Miami.

PAUL: You said that just like a sports anchor.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. I play one on TV.


PAUL: All right, Jennifer, we know you are a meteorologist. What is the weather for us today?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I was impressed with that, Victor. Sounded good.


GRAY: Memorial weekend, it all depends on where you are. We're going to be watching some storms in Texas, across the Plains. So we could see some rainy conditions around San Antonio, and points to the north. Chicago some spotty showers for you Monday into Tuesday. Orlando some afternoon type showers with temperatures in the low 90s. New York City nice though, temperatures in the mid-80s, and sunshine. The east is going to be warm. It is going to feel very nice. Boston, you'll be at 81 on Memorial Day with dry conditions.