Santa Barbara Shooting Echoes 'Angel of Death' Case

Elliot Rodger's deadly rampage isn’t the first one to strike Santa Barbara. A similarly troubled young man calling himself the “Angel of Death” wreaked his own terror in the community. INSIDE EDITION explains.

It's the tragedy with macabre similarities to last week's massacre.

It was a chaotic scene as bystanders tried to restrain the young man who mowed down four people in Isla Vista, California, back in 2001. The driver, David Attias, yelled to the survivors, "I am the Angel of Death."

Now, many observers are struck by the parallels between the Angel of Death case and the Elliot Rodger massacre.

Investigative journalist Peter Lance told INSIDE EDITION, "The similarities are quite eerie."

See More of Lance's Interview with INSIDE EDITION

Both tragedies happened on a Friday, the 23rd of the month.

Both tragedies happened in Isla Vista, a college town near Santa Barbara.

Both Rodger and Attias are the sons of Hollywood directors. Rodger’s dad worked on The Hunger Games, Attias's father directed episodes of The Sopranos, Homeland, and many other shows.

Lance said, "You have two very privileged young men driving black, expensive cars. Attias driving his car into a crowd of people with reckless abandon, Rodger not only driving into people but shooting and stabbing people. And both because they'd been rejected by women, which is extraordinary."

Like Rodger, Attias had serious mental problems. He was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and was sent to a state mental hospital.

At a hearing in 2012, Attias asked to be released from the hospital, saying he no longer posed a threat to society. A judge agreed and transferred him to an unlocked treatment center.

The local newspaper actually called Isla Vista, "a square mile of densely packed and hormonally charged humanity," pointing to the excesses of the annual spring-break celebration known as Deltopia. A riot erupted during the event earlier this year.

Lance said, "It's a small town with incredibly privileged people, a beautiful environment with extraordinary architecture, and yet evil lurks in the shadows here."

Attias is now reportedly living in a supervised group home.