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Crime & Courts

Santa Barbara police involved in shootout with suspect placed on leave

Police involved in a shootout with the gunman in the Isla Vista, Calif. massacre on Friday that left seven dead, including himself, are on routine administrative lead pending an investigation.

However, no disciplinary action has been taken against the police officers who were sent to investigate the mental health of Elliot Rodger just weeks before he went on the stabbing and shooting rampage. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover earlier said they had been placed on administrative leave, but told on Wednesday night that she had misspoken.

Police officers interviewed Rodger on April 30 as part of a family-requested welfare check after he uploaded disturbing videos to YouTube, but concluded that he was "shy and timid ... polite, courteous" and did not further search his Isla Vista apartment.

But, as Rodger revealed in his 137-page manifesto, he was hiding three handguns, dozens of rounds of ammunition and a deadly "Day of Retribution” plot at the time of the encounter.

Rodger detailed the encounter with police in his manifesto, writing that the YouTube videos prompted "seven police officers" to "knock on my apartment door."

"As soon as I saw those cops, the biggest fear I had ever felt in my life overcame me," Rodger wrote. "I had the striking and devastating fear that someone had somehow discovered what I was planning to do, and reported me for it.

"If that was the case, the police would have searched my room, found all of my guns and weapons, along with my writings about what I plan to do with them. I would have been thrown in jail, denied of the chance to exact revenge on my enemies ...Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, but it was so close," he wrote.

Rodger went on to write that police interrogated him outside his apartment for a "few minutes" and asked him if he had suicidal thoughts.

"I tactfully told them that it was all a misunderstanding, and they finally left. If they had demanded to search my room… That would have ended everything," Rodger wrote.

The first victims killed Friday were men -- Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, George Chen, 19, and Weihan Wang, 20. They were stabbed to death in Rodger's own apartment, authorities say. Two of them were Rodger's housemates, whom he described as the "biggest nerds I had ever seen." He wrote in the manifesto that he'd "enjoy stabbing them both to death while they slept."

At about 9:30 p.m., the shooting rampage began. Rodger killed 20-year-old Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, a student who was shot and killed inside the IV Deli Mart in Goleta.

He also killed 22-year-old Katie Cooper, who was shot and killed by Rodger across the street from the Alpha Phi sorority house. Veronika Weiss, 19, a talented water polo player, was shot and killed alongside Cooper.'s Hollie McKay contributed to this report.

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