Santa Barbara Shooting Suspect's Parents Mourning Victims More Than Son, Spokesman Says (Video)
Simon Astaire spoke to "Today" and "Good Morning America" on Thursday about how Elliot Rodger's mother and father are doing since the deadly rampage.
The parents of Santa Barbara shooting suspect Elliot Rodger lost a son the same night he went on his deadly rampage, with Rodger dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
But Peter and Chin Rodger, Elliot's parents, are focusing on the parents of the other people allegedly killed by Rodger.
"They are mourning the victims more than they are mourning their son," family spokesman Simon Astaire told NBC's Today on Thursday.
Astaire also delivered a new statement from the family, the first since the shooting.
“We are crying in pain for the victims and their families. It breaks out hearts on a level that we didn’t think possible," the statement reads. "The feeling of knowing that it was our son’s actions that caused the tragedy can only be described as hell on earth," the statement reads. "It is now our responsibility to do everything we can to help avoid this happening to any other family. Not only to avoid any more innocence destroyed, but also to identify and deal with the mental issues that drove our son to do what he did."
Astaire added that he believes the Rodgers are so upset that they're "unable to express their sorrow," which is why he's representing them to the media.
As for how they're doing since the events of Friday night, Astaire said, "They have diminished. They have gone down in size. They are virtually unrecognizable.''
On Good Morning America, Astaire said they were so upset, that they're literally having trouble getting words out.
“Literally, their speech is now stuttered,” Astaire told GMA. “They’re unable to really articulate things in a full sentence.”
On Today, Astaire said that Elliot's parents have not read the nearly 140-page manifesto that their son left behind.
“It is just awful,’’ he added. “It is an awful piece of writing. They're going through absolutely enough at the moment."
Astaire also revealed on the NBC morning show that when Elliot's father, Peter, a second-unit director on The Hunger Games, saw his son's chilling YouTube video, he knew instantly that something was wrong.
"He knew instinctively that something was very, very wrong and that's why he got Chin to ring up 911, and they got into his car to hurtle down to Santa Barbara to see if they could rescue their son,'' Astaire told Today. "Clearly they did not, and when they found out what had happened, I got an email from Peter and it was heart-(wrenching), and he talked. He said to me in his email that his son had been shot dead but he had taken others with him.
Peter watched the whole video that night, Astaire added.
Astaire also defended Elliot's parents' behavior with respect to trying to get him professional help, telling Matt Lauer that they put him in therapy at age 9 and had called the police two weeks before the shooting "because they were alarmed at what he might do."
"[They were] very much on top of things," Astaire said.
He told GMA that Elliot's parents were concerned about their son every day.
“I think their fears fundamentally, deep down, was that he was going to take his own life,” Astaire said on ABC.
The Rodgers' family friend told GMA's Amy Robach that Elliot visited numerous therapists, with his parents hopeful that this treatment, combined with medication, could resolve their son's inability to make friends and his anger.
“I understand he was on Xanax for about six months,” Astaire said, adding that Rodger refused to take medication on previous occasions.
Astaire also told Today that he felt that Elliot's manifesto reflected a different person.
"From what I understand, Elliot had been living another life for a number of years,'' he said. "Again this is what I understand -- his manifesto he started to write three years ago."
Watch Astaire's interviews on both morning shows below.