A gunman sprayed bullets at people late Friday, killing at least six in a drive-by shooting before being found dead from a gunshot wound in his car near the University of California, Santa Barbara. The county sheriff called it "a planned mass murder" by a "severely mentally disturbed" suspect.
At least seven people, including the suspected shooter, were killed and seven others were injured in nine locations in the town of Isla Vista near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara at about 9.30 p.m. local time, according to KEYT-TV.
Those wounded were hospitalized either with gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries, and one of them sustained with life-threatening injuries.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown referred to the shootings as "a planned mass murder," according to ABC News. A semiautomatic handgun was recovered from the area, he said.
The suspect, who was driving a black BMW, fired gunshots at people and other targets, witnesses said. "I heard shots, scream, pain," Michael Vitak, a student who witnessed the shooting, was quoted as saying. "All emotions. I hope she is going to be fine."
The gunman also reportedly exchanged fire with sheriff's deputies and then crashing into a parked car. He was found dead from a gunshot wound to his head.
Brown said it wasn't clear if the suspect was shot by deputies or if he shot himself. The motive also remains unknown. The sheriff said the shootings were under investigation.
After the shootings, officials issued alerts urging people in the area to stay indoors.
While the suspect has been identified, authorities are yet to release his name.
Several witnesses told KEYT-TV hey saw two people inside the suspect's car, but Brown refused to comment on it during a Saturday morning's press conference. However, he said the suspected was "severely mentally disturbed."
Meanwhile, a YouTube video, titled "Retribution," posted by a young man with the name Elliot Rodger slams women who have ignored or rejected him over the past eight years. In the video, Rodger warns that he will "punish you all for it."
Brown said authorities were aware of the video and were investigating if Rodger had a role in the shootings.
Isla Vista witnessed violence between young people and police at an annual spring bash last month. Five university security staff were injured and about 130 people were arrested.