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Shooting Rampage Near UC Santa Barbara Leaves 7 Dead

Credit: John Palminteri /KCLU

The car police say was driven by a suspect who killed six people near the University of California, Santa Barbara, campus.

A suspect, authorities say, was driving a black BMW when he opened fire Friday night in a busy commercial strip just outside the University of California, Santa Barbara, campus.

During an early-morning news conference, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the shooting left seven dead — including the suspect — and seven others in the hospital.

Some of them were injured by gunfire, some were hit by a vehicle.

Police, Brown said, had uncovered "written and videotaped evidence that suggests this atrocity was premeditated mass murder."

Brown said the suspect is believed to have started shooting at 9:27 p.m. PT. in the small community of Isla Vista. By 9:33 he had been engaged by deputies and shortly thereafter he was found dead in his car "from an apparent gunshot wound to the head." Police found a semi-automatic handgun in the car.

Police are not sure whether he committed suicide. At this time, Brown said, they believe the suspect acted alone.

This is a breaking news story. We'll update this post as soon as we have more, so keep refreshing this page.

Update at 11:36 a.m. PT. Some Students:

In a statement, UC Santa Barbara says that some of those injured during last night's shooting were students.

University of California President Janet Napolitano said a statement:

"While details on the shooting are scarce and families are still being notified, the campus is already taking steps in response. University officials have set up a room for families who are coming to campus, and are making counseling services available to any students, faculty and staff who need our support. UC Santa Barbara officials are also working with the local County Sheriff's Office and have opened the campus' Emergency Operations Center. We will share additional information as it becomes available."

Update at May 24 9:28 p.m. ET. A Witness:

The University of California, Santa Barbara's student newspaper The Nexus talked to one eyewitness who described a chaotic scene:

"One local resident and UCSB student, Niklas Svennefiord, said he saw the suspect flee from police, from his house at 6585 Del Playa Drive. The suspect, a man in a white shirt, crashed into a nearby black jeep, he said.

"'I heard a couple gunfire shots. I thought they were fireworks, so I didn't think about it, but I was pretty startled and then I heard a car hit into another car. So I look up into my little window that's in my shower, and I see a guy try to flee and the cops shoot him,' Svennefiord said.

"Svennefiord said the suspect then continued to flee from police and also said that he believes one of his best friends was killed.

"'I see a guy try to flee out of the car and the cop shoots him and then runs up to the car, seriously, and runs up to the car, looks into the car and the guy tries rolling around, and the cop kind of kicked him to make sure he was down,' Svennefiord said."

And just to repeat, authorities have said they don't know if the gunman was killed by police or if he committed suicide.

Police said they are investigating nine different crime scenes.

Our Original Post Continues:

Authorities say drive-by shootings in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area have left three dead and seven others wounded in what authorities said was a chaotic scene Friday night, The Associated Press reported.

Two suspects were detained after the shootings in Isla Vista, near a student community next to UC Santa Barbara.

Police cordoned off four crime scenes and warned residents to stay inside and visitors to stay away, according to KEYT NewsChannel 3.

Student Michael Vitak spoke to a KEYT reporter.

" 'Guys in a BMW. Maybe they were trying to prove they're tough,' Vitak said during a live televised interview. Vitak saw them shooting at two girls; one was shot dead, the other was critically hurt.

" 'I heard shots, screams, pain,' said Vitak. 'All emotions. I hope she is going to be fine,' he said."

Isla Vista is known for parties, including one last month that turned into a violent blowout, according to the AP.

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