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Family suspects son in shootings, attorney says

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published May 24, 2014 at 9:24 a.m. Updated May 24, 2014 at 3:43 p.m.

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In this image provided by KEYT-TV, police investigate a scene after a mass shooting near the campus of the University of Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, Calif., Friday, May 23, 2014. A drive-by shooter went on a "mass murder" rampage near the Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded, authorities said Saturday.

LOS ANGELES — The family of a man they believe went on a shooting rampage near a Santa Barbara, California, university called police several weeks ago after being alarmed by YouTube videos "regarding suicide and the killing of people," a lawyer said Saturday.

Police interviewed Elliot Rodger and found him to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human," family attorney Alan Shifman said.

Shifman added that police did not find a history of guns, but did say Rodger "didn't have a lot of friends," had trouble making friends and didn't have any girlfriends.

Shifman is the attorney for Peter Rodger, who was one of the assistant directors on "The Hunger Games." Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the shooter.

Police said a gunman driving a BMW near the university campus went on a rampage that left seven people dead, including the shooter. Authorities described the tragedy as "obviously the work of a mad man."

Seven people remain hospitalized with gunshot wounds or other injuries, including one who has undergone surgery, following the shooting spree Friday night in the beachside community of Isla Vista, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

The gunman got into two gun battles before crashing his black BMW into a parked car. Deputies found the lone suspect dead with a gunshot wound to the head, but it wasn't immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire or if he committed suicide, Brown said.

A semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the scene near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Investigators know the gunman's name, but Brown said he couldn't release it pending notification of relatives.

Describing the atrocity as "premeditated mass murder," Brown said, authorities were analyzing a disturbing YouTube video posted that shows a young man describing plans to shoot women that appears to be connected to the attack.

Officials would not say whether the person in the video was a suspect in the shooting.

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