At first Peter Rodger thought his son was a victim.
It would be later that he would learn that his 22-year-old son Elliot was responsible for the mass murder near U.C. Santa Barbara.
He knew that his son was depressed and could potentially harm himself, but never thought him capable of using knives, handguns and his car to murder six people and injure 13 before taking his own life.
Earlier that evening, Peter Rodger told Barbara Walters in an interview for ABC News, he was entertaining friends at his home when he received an e-mail from his son that included 137-page diary addressed to his parents, life coach, and others entitled “My Twisted World.”
Elliot’s mother, Li Chin, received that same email.
Chin Googled her son’s name and found something else, that now infamous YouTube video called “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution.” The video showed Elliot sitting in the driver’s seat of his black BMW spewing hate and talking vengeance.
Rodger says Elliot’s mother frantically dialed 911 and her ex-husband and told him to go on YouTube after sending him the link.
“I just went to the YouTube page and saw, the retribution video,” he told Walters. Peter Rodger recalled how he felt: “A really dark force of horrible energy hit me.”
Peter Rodger says he continually relives the moments of Elliot’s life–the good and the bad. And wakes up every night thinking about the young lives that were lost at the hands of his son.
Peter Rodger told ABC that he would like to see the law changed so that gun checks are required when police investigate certain calls.
“If they did do a gun check, they would know that Elliot had bought three automatic weapons. They would have the right to seize him for 24 hours, and his whole scheme would’ve been over and thwarted,” he said in the exclusive interview with ABC’s Walters.
Rodger met face-to-face with the Richard Martinez, father of Christopher Martinez, who was shot and killed by Elliot. The two are working together to change gun laws.
He told Walters that because of the lives he took there’s a part of him that wishes his son were never born.
The entire interview with Peter Rodger airs tonight at 10pm ET on a special edition of “20/20: The Secret Life of Elliot Rodger.”