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Isla Vista: A Crime Scene on Repeat

The site of the nation's most recent college shooting is the same location of a previous student shooting and where yet another L.A. native and son of a film director decided to mow down passersby with his BMW.

Isla Vista, next to UC Santa Barbara. Patch file photo.
Isla Vista, next to UC Santa Barbara. Patch file photo.

Isla Vista, the neighborhood just west of UC Santa Barbara, is a sun-drenched cluster of oceanside apartments, fraternity houses and low-cost student housing, but has been the scene of violence witnessed by Southern Californians.

Crime scene tape still hangs today on streets at and near "The Loop," the center of the community where residents usually are concerned with studying, surfing and social life. Six people were killed there Friday, seven were wounded, and suspected gunman Elliot Rodger, 22, died of at least one gunshot.

See previous stories on Patch:


In 1970, Isla Vista burst onto the national scene when a Bank of America branch was burned down following a political rally.

Residents were upset as they witnessed sheriff's deputies brutally beat a student who had been suspected of carrying a Molotov cocktail. It was a bottle of wine.

Anger spread, and the Bank of America branch was burned.

After Bank of America opened a temporary branch in a trailer, more protests and aggressive police behavior broke out. At one, a student was shot and killed, and police blamed a sniper.

An autopsy revealed he had been shot a policeman, and the killing was ruled an accident.

Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan decried the anti-war protests and blamed the violence on the anti-war movement, and declared a State of Emergency as dozens of students were arrested.

The bank eventually moved out, and the exact the site is now a UCSB office building, across the street from where people were shot and killed Friday night.

Just a block away, in 2001, another troubled man drove his BMW at high speed down Sabado Tarde Road and mowed down a crowd. That street also today is a crime scene from Friday's murders.

David Attias, then 21 and also of Los Angeles, emerged from the BMW and proclaimed "I am the angel of death" as four people laid dead or dying.

Attias was convicted of four counts of second-degree murder and other crimes in 2002, but the same jury later found him to be insane.

A judge sent Attias to a state hospital for 60 years. A Santa Barbara judge later ruled him no longer to be a threat to society, and ruled him eligible for freedom in 2012. His recent history is not apparent.

Coincidentally, Attias is the son of a Los Angeles-area entertainment director, Dan Attias. Rodger is the son of Peter Rodger, an assistant director on Hunger Games.

--City News Service



Stan Jacobs May 25, 2014 at 09:50 AM
Again senseless killings at or on school grounds…..where most have been occurring over the past twenty years. The authorities and the media have been deftly evading that issue of cause and effect. The connection is real and everyone turns the other way while wringing their hands over each killing. Why?
ann wright May 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM
man has made huge strides in political views, technology, the intellect, medication, science, fund raising, good deeds, and it would appear it has not changed what drives man
The Beast ! May 25, 2014 at 05:59 PM
This did NOT come as a surprise. The UCSB campus as many or our state schools are crime ridden, dilapidated buildings, and populated with a bunch of low performing students that don't have the right or the grades to take advantage of our education system.
TT May 28, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Just more liberal on liberal crimes. That's all these are. If you want to be safe, move to a conservative city.
RON Ostrodamus May 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM
No city is safe from Godzilla IT. It has been said the reason kids love Godzilla is that he kills more adults with each footstep than any other monster. Every kid secretly hides the dream of owning a pet T-Rex to avenge them. Some grow up and buy pit bulls, some never grow up and buy Glocks.

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