Newly released photos of the June 1 private meeting between the fathers of Isla Vista shooter Elliot Rodger and victim Christopher Michaels-Martinez show the two men together in the days after the tragedy that left seven people, including the gunman, dead.
Details about the meeting or its location were not disclosed. The three photos released Monday show the Richard Martinez and Peter Rodger seated together and talking, hugging each other and shaking hands.
UC Santa Barbara student Michaels-Martinez, 20, was the last of three shooting victims to be gunned down by Rodger May 23 in the Southern California college town about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. He was shot and killed outside a deli after Rodger fatally stabbed three people at his Isla Vista apartment before the shooting rampage.
The violence ended with a shootout involving deputies and a crash. Rodger, 22, died from a self-inflicted gunshot, according to authorities.
Martinez told reporters in the days after the tragedy that he hoped to meet with Rodger, a film director and photographer. Both families have issued statements in which they expressed sorrow for all the victims.
Just hours after learning of his son's death, Martinez issued an emotional plea to end gun violence. His son was an English major who was looking forward to spending his junior year in London. The son of a criminal defense attorney and a deputy district attorney in San Luis Obispo, he planned to attend law school after graduation.
He worked hard in school and enjoyed playing several sports, his father said during a campus memorial service last month for the victims.
Rodger family friend Simon Astaire, who provided the photos of the meeting, told NBC's Today Show last month that Peter Rodger and his wife tried to find their son after his social worker contacted them and brought their attention to a YouTube video in which their son talked of "retribution" and threatened students. They were headed toward Isla Vista in separate vehicles when they heard news of the shooting on the radio, Astaire said.
Astair also provided a statement from the Roger family during the interview:
"We're crying in pain for the victims and their families. It breaks out hearts on the level we did not think possible," the statement read. "The feeling of knowing that it was our son's actions that caused the tragedy can only be described as hell on earth. It is now our responsibility to do everything we can to help avoid this from happening to any other family. Not only to avoid any more innocents destroyed but also to identify and deal with mental issues that drove our son to do what he did."
First published June 17 2014, 4:18 AM