But by the time they arrived, officers confirmed their son had gone on a deadly rampage. Elliot Rodger played the video game "World of Warcraft," but the family never suspected he would have guns, said Astaire, who was speaking on behalf of the family.
Investigators, including from federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, searched his parents' homes Sunday and left with boxes of evidence.
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.
At least two other people who saw Rodger's videos before Friday compared him to a serial killer, through a message board on a bodybuilding website and the social network Reddit.
The rampage played out largely as he sketched it in public postings, including a YouTube video where he sits in the 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 the video posted Friday and taken down by YouTube Saturday with a message saying it violated the site's terms of service.
Brown told CNN on Sunday that investigators are close to having a "pretty clear picture of what happened."
The first three killed Friday were male stabbing victims in Rodger's own apartment. The Santa Barbara sheriff's office identified them Sunday as Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, and George Chen, 19 — both from San Jose — and Weihan Wang, 20, of Fremont. They were all UC Santa Barbara students. Hong and Chen were listed on the lease as Rodger's roommates, and investigators were trying to determine whether Wang was a roommate or was visiting the night of the killings.
Then, around 9:30 p.m., the shooting rampage began.
Deputies found three semi-automatic handguns along with 400 unspent rounds in his black BMW. All were purchased legally.
Associated Press writer Oskar Garcia in Honolulu contributed to this report.