June 23, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Isla Vista, Site of UCSB Murders, Has a Violent History

UCSB
Isla Vista, where 7 were killed and another 7 injured in a UCSB shooting, has a violent past. (Courtesy image)

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

Crime scene tape still hangs on streets Saturday afternoon 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 May 23, seven were wounded, and suspected gunman Elliot Rodger, 22, died of at least one gunshot.

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.

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