Elliot Rodger killings: Cultural idols working 'destruction in lives of troubled people', says pastor
An Isla Vista pastor says the community has been "wounded" by Elliot Rodger's killing spree last Friday.
Pastor David Guzik, of Calvary Chapel, Santa Barbara, used his Sunday sermon to reflect on the tragic events that left seven people dead, including the gunman.
He confirmed that no one at Calvary Chapel was directly affected by the shooting rampage but he noted that members of the church spend their time building relationships with the people of Isla Vista, including volunteering with the Sheriff's Department to offer support in situations like last Friday's.
The pastor said the community had been "touched, impacted, wounded" by the killings and it was a reminder to the church that it couldn't "short sell the presence of evil in this world".
"It tells us something about our culture and how the idols of our culture work destruction in the lives of troubled people," he said.
He also paid tribute to the "courage and great work" of the emergency responders who were called to deal with the situation.
The killing spree has left many people shocked as details continue to emerge about the motive and Rodger's state of mind at the time.
Rodger, who is the son of Hunger Games assistant director Peter Rodger, posted a series of disturbing videos to YouTube prior to carrying out the massacre.
In his last video, he said Friday would be a "day of retribution" and his "revenge against humanity". He also complained about his lack of sexual fulfilment and said he would "punish" girls for not finding him attractive.
The victims include Rodger's two roommates at his Capri apartment complex, Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, and George Chen, 19, and their friend Weihan Wang, 20.
The other victims have been identified as students Katie Cooper, 22, Christopher Martinez, 20, and Veronica Weiss, 19.
Rodger, who was a student at the University of California Santa Barbara, took his own life after killing them.
On Saturday, students and other members of the local community gathered together to remember the victims at candlelight vigils.
St Michael's University Church in Isla Vista has been open for people to pray, reflect and receive pastoral counselling. Prayers were said for the victims at its Sunday morning service and the church is involved in a university memorial taking place at Harder Stadium on Tuesday.
The chapel has issued a special prayer:
Loving God, Jesus welcomed and gathered all people into his arms, and blessed them in the name of peace and love. Be with the victims of this tragedy and those who mourn alongside them. As all things are possible with you, redeem this horror with the immensity of your love. Be with us as we struggle with the mysteries of life and death; in our pain, bring your comfort, and in our sorrow, bring your hope and your promise of new life, in the name our Creator, Life Giver and Pain Bearer. Amen.