A gunman described as mentally disturbed and possibly bent on retribution sprayed bullets from a slow-moving car in a small
Southern California college town, killing six people in a rampage called "premeditated mass murder," Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies said Saturday.
The gunman also died from a gunshot wound after his car crashed Friday night, police said. It was unclear if the fatal head wound was self-inflicted or the result of a firefight with police.
Seven people also were being treated in a hospital for gunshot wounds or traumatic injuries, including at least one who was in surgery, said sheriff's office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
"The sheriff's office has obtained and is currently analyzing written and video evidence that suggests this was a premeditated mass murder," Hoover said.
Hoover apparently was referring to a YouTube video titled "Retribution" posted by a young man. In the nearly seven-minute video, the young man rants about women who ignored or rejected him over the past eight years and warns that he will "punish you all for it."
"Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge," the man says on the video.
The shootings occurred in Isla Vista near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in a crowded area bustling with activity on Memorial Day weekend.
"I don't recall hearing any screaming," witness Robert Johnson told CNN, describing the moment the gunman opened fire on people outside a deli. "It was at that point where I turned and ran in the opposite direction. ... There's a lot of confusion. Even shortly after this whole ordeal had ended, I think a lot of people didn't realize the magnitude of the situation."
The violence began and ended within minutes, from 9:27 p.m. when shots were reported to around 10 minutes later when police discovered the body of the suspected gunman, CNN affiliate KEYT-TV said. Authorities said there were nine separate crime scenes.
"Sheriff's deputies responded and found several victims suffering from gunshot wounds. As sheriff's deputies were attending to the victims and performing first aid, they were also receiving suspect information. Only minutes later, there were additional reports of shots fired in several other areas of Isla Vista," Hoover said.
U.S. law enforcement officials said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI were assisting local police in the investigation, including trying to trace the handgun used and where the possible suspect obtained it.
Johnson told CNN he was standing on a corner when he heard what he thought were fireworks. Then a black BMW with tinted windows drove by and either slowed down or stopped outside a deli where as many as eight people were eating outside. Someone in the car opened fire.
"It all happened very quickly, but I think this happened to be the largest group on the street," he said. "It think it was just targeted because it was the largest group in the area."