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Californian gunman's killing spree

Police have confirmed Elliot Rodger, the son of a Hollywood film director, Peter Rodger, was the gunman involved in a drive by shooting in Santa Barbara, after he stabbed and killed three people near his apartment.

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The family of a 22-year-old man believed to be responsible for the shooting spree which left six people dead and seven more injured in the picturesque California town of Santa Barbara, have spoken publicly of their "inconceivable pain".

Hollywood director Peter Rodger and his wife Moroccan-born French actress Soumaya Akaaboune have issued a statement through their lawyer Alan Shifman saying they believe Rodger's son, Elliot, was the shooter.

Authorities have not yet formally identified Rodger as the shooter, found dead at the wheel of a crashed BMW in the Santa Barbara neighbourhood of Isla Vista.

"The Rodger family offers their deepest compassion and sympathy to the families involved in this terrible tragedy," the statement said.

"We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain, and our hearts go out to everybody involved."

Shifman has confirmed the family have not yet seen the gunman's body.

In a disturbing twist to the case, Shifman revealed Rodger's parents contacted authorities several weeks ago after seeing a series of YouTube videos their son posted which made references to suicide and murder.

Those clips, notably one titled Retribution, have been played repeatedly during television news coverage.

In it, a young man who identifies himself as Rodger says he plans to take revenge against humanity as retribution for his loneliness and because "girls have never been attracted to me".

Earlier video diary entries follow a similar theme, often touching on his loneliness and frustration. Shifman acknowledged that the 22-year-old had trouble making friends.

According to Shifman, Rodgers was interviewed by police after his parents flagged their concern but police told the family he was a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human".

Shifman said the family were not ready to speak publicly at length but would co-operate with authorities and "any other person who feels that they need to help prevent these situations from ever occurring again".

"My client's mission in life will be to try to prevent any such tragedies from ever happening again," Shifman said. "This country, this world, needs to address mental illness and the ramifications from not recognising these illnesses."

Shifman said the family is "staunchly" against guns and supported the push for gun-control laws.

"They are extremely, extremely upset that anybody was hurt under these circumstances," Shifman said.