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Published: Sunday May 25, 2014 MYT 9:00:03 AM
Updated: Sunday May 25, 2014 MYT 9:00:03 AM

Suspected California gunman may have posted video warning of killings

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The gunman suspected of killing six people in drive-by shootings near a California college campus on Friday night may have posted a video online lamenting his loneliness and warning he was about to go on a rampage out of sexual frustration.

Authorities identified the suspected gunman as Elliot Rodger, son of a Hollywood director.

The suspected gunman also died in the rampage in Isla Vista near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. It was not yet known if he was killed in an exchange of gunfire with deputies, or died from a self-inflicted wound, officials said.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, speaking earlier on Saturday, said authorities were investigating a possible connection between the suspected gunman and an online video that was uploaded to YouTube on Friday night.

In the video, a young man who identifies himself as Elliot Rodger, pours out his hatred of women who have rejected him and "popular kids," and says he is about to kill people out of loneliness and sexual frustration.

The nearly seven-minute-long video shows a young man sitting at the wheel of a stationary car. He complains he is still a virgin at age 22 and that he is angry at women for refusing to have sex with him or even kiss him and at men for appearing to be happier and more successful than him.

YouTube has since removed the video, posting in its place a notice saying the video violated its terms of service. The company issued a statement later on Saturday.

"Our hearts go out to the families affected by this terrible news," said YouTube, which is owned by Google.

"Videos threatening violence are against YouTube’s guidelines and we remove them when they are flagged. We encourage anyone who sees material that they think crosses the line to flag it for us," it said.

Under its terms of service, YouTube removes any content that is flagged by users and that it deems predatory or threatening. But such content needs to be flagged, as the company cannot police millions of videos. This practice is similar to that employed by other forms of social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

"MY LAST VIDEO"

"Well, this is my last video. It all has to come to this," the man says in the video.

"You girls have never been attracted to me. I don't know why you girls aren't attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it. It's an injustice, a crime," he says, his speech punctuated by bursts of laughter.

He says he plans to head to a sorority house, which houses female students, to kill people there. "I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you," he said. He expresses surprise at his rejection as he considers himself a "supreme gentleman."

When asked about the video entitled "Elliot Rodger's Retribution," Brown told a news conference that "it would appear that is connected with this crime."

Rodger's YouTube channel contains several other videos of Rodger lamenting the loneliness he says he has felt ever since entering puberty, his tone veering from anger to despair. Most of them were uploaded in the past week.

One video is called: "Being lonely on Spring Break sucks." Another: "Why do girls hate me?"

About three weeks ago, he wrote on his YouTube channel that he had temporarily taken some of his videos down "due to the alarm it caused with some people in my family."

His Facebook page is filled with dozens of pictures of Rodger posing by himself. There are also photographs of him attending a premier of the movie "Hunger Games," with a man who appears to be Peter Rodger. The older Rodger was an assistant director of the film, which depicts teenagers killing each other.

(Additional reporting by Edwin Chan Writing by Jonathan Allen and Frances Kerry; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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