Lichin ‘Chin’ Rodger, Soumaya Akaaboune: Mother and Stepmother of Accused Killer Elliot Rodger

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
May 26, 2014 Updated: May 27, 2014

Lichin “Chin” Rodger and Soumaya Akaaboune have been named as the mother and stepmother of accused murderer Elliot Rodger.

Rodger is said to have killed six people before he was killed by police in California near the University of Santa Barbara.

He wrote a long manifesto that claimed the rage that led to the killings stemmed from sexual frustration, but his victims also included his male roommates who had angered him at times. He said he would punish all females for the crime of depriving me of sex.” 

Lichin and her ex-husband Peter Rodger–a Hollywood film director–saw the 137-page manifesto on Friday at 9:17 p.m., prompting her to look at his YouTube page.

When she saw the videos she alerted Peter and the police and rushed to Santa Barbara to try to stop Elliot, but it was too late. 

“She opened up the email and she can tell in a couple lines that there’s something seriously, seriously wrong,” family friend Simon Astaire told the New York Daily News. “She gets hold of the YouTube video. She sends it immediately to her ex-husband. He is out to dinner with two friends and his wife, and he leaves dinner immediately and drives up to Santa Barbara. Meanwhile his mother called 911. And there’s a therapist … involved as well.”

“They’re in deep, deep grief,” Astaire said. “Their grief which is nearly unbearable to be close to is as much for the loss of their son as for the victims.”

Signs of Rodger’s mental state had become increasingly evident over the years, and he was getting therepuatic help since he was 8 or 9 years old, said Astaire.

The 22-year-old was visited by sheriff’s deputies on April 30 after Lichin saw some earlier videos on his YouTube page and alerted one of her son’s counselors who in turn alerted police, but the deputies left without searching Rodger’s dorm. His writings indicated that if they had done so they would have found a cache of guns and ammo.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies who showed up at Rodger’s doorstep to check on his mental health, however, weren’t aware of any videos, the department’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. They concluded after their visit that the well-mannered if shy young man posed no risk.

Sheriff Bill Brown has defended the deputies’ actions, but the case highlights the challenges that police face in assessing the mental health of adults, particularly those with no history of violent breakdowns, institutionalizations or serious crimes.

“Obviously, looking back on this, it’s a very tragic situation and we certainly wish that we could turn the clock back and maybe change some things,” Brown told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“At the time deputies interacted with him, he was able to convince them that he was OK,” he said.

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MORE:

Chin Rodger and Peter Rodger ‘Crippled With Guilt’ Over Elliot Rodger Slayings: Family Friend

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Despite Elliot’s struggles described in his manifesto it has emerged that he led a comfortable life with Peter and his new wife Soumaya Akaaboune, an actress who has appeared in movies including Green Zone, Playing for Keeps, and Lovelace.

That included being flown to Britain for a “private” Katy Perry concert and driving a vehicle worth almost $40,000.

Doris A. Fuller, executive director of the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, said California law has provisions that permit emergency psychiatric evaluations of individuals who pose a serious threat, but that was never triggered.

“Once again, we are grieving over deaths and devastation caused by a young man who was sending up red flags for danger that failed to produce intervention in time to avert tragedy,” Fuller said in a statement.

“In this case, the red flags were so big the killer’s parents had called police … and yet the system failed.”

Rodger, writing in a manifesto, said the police asked whether he had suicidal thoughts, and he was able to convince them he was fine. He said he was relieved his apartment wasn’t searched because deputies would have uncovered the cache of weapons he used in the rampage in Isla Vista.

He posted at least 22 YouTube videos. He wrote in his manifesto that he uploaded most of his videos in the week leading up to April 26, when he originally planned to carry out his attacks. He postponed his plan after catching a cold.

“On the week leading up to date I set for the Day of Retribution, I uploaded several videos onto YouTube in order to express my views and feelings to the world, though I don’t plan on uploading my ultimate video until minutes before the attack, because on that video I will talk about exactly why I’m doing this,”Rodger wrote.

In the final video posted Friday, he sits in a black BMW in sunset light and appears to be acting out scripted lines and planned laughs.

“I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you,” the son of a Hollywood director who worked on “The Hunger Games” says.

In his videos and writings, Rodger voices his contempt for everyone from his roommates to the human race, reserving special hate for two groups: the women he says kept him a virgin for all of his 22 years and the men they chose instead.

The rampage played out largely as he sketched it in public postings. He said he would start by “silently killing as many people as I can around Isla Vista by luring them into my apartment through some form of trickery.” He said he would knock them out with a hammer, and slit their throats.

On Sunday, the sheriff’s office identified the final victims as Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, and George Chen, 19 — both from San Jose — and Weihan Wang, 20, of Fremont. Hong and Chen were listed on the lease asRodger’s roommates. Investigators were trying to determine whether Wang was a roommate or was visiting the apartment.

Around 9:30 p.m., the shooting rampage began and lasted about 10 minutes.

In the end, he shot and killed three others at random, and injured 13 more either with gunshots or the BMW that he used as a battering ram against bicyclists and skateboarders.

Deputies found three semi-automatic handguns along with 400 unspent rounds in the car. All were purchased legally.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.