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UCSB shooting victim’s father learns of death by tracking phone

The father of UCSB shooting victim Veronika Weiss said he feared she was a victim after tracking her iPhone.
Veronika Weiss died Friday night after Elliot Rodger went on a rampage at the University of California Santa Barbara campus. Via Rex Features/The Canadian Press

The father of one of six university students killed in a murder spree last Friday learned his daughter was likely one of the victims by tracking her smartphone.

Veronika Weiss died Friday night after Elliot Rodger went on a rampage at the University of California Santa Barbara campus.

The 19-year-old woman’s father, Bob Weiss, told CNN he knew something was wrong when she didn’t call to check in, something she did regularly.

When he couldn’t reach Veronika, he decided to track her phone in an attempt to locate her.

READ MORE: Stories of the 6 victims in the California college rampage

“It was four o’clock in the morning and Veronika’s not a four o’clock in the morning type of girl,” he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. “I’m not a fool. I knew what happened.”

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He said he used the Find my iPhone app to track the movement of the device. The app, which can be installed on iPhones, iPads and iPods, allows the owner to locate lost or missing devices.

Weiss told the L.A. Times the app pinpointed her phone in the middle of one of the crime scenes.

READ MORE: Denied again by people he hated, gunman in deadly California rampage took to the streets

While it showed her device moving, Veronika wasn’t answering her father’s calls. “We actually were looking at her phone while they were moving her body … probably to take her to the morgue,” he told CNN.

Weiss said he and his wife Colleen then rushed to the campus in Isla Vista. But they didn’t get confirmation from the sheriff’s office about their daughter’s death until hours later.

Weiss said his daughter was very active in sports, participating in baseball, cross-country running, swimming and water polo — all while getting straight A’s in school.

“She was a big strong girl and she was tough,” he told the L.A. Times. “She wanted to be a financial wizard, and use her high aptitude with complicated math.”

“There was never a day I wasn’t proud of her. Never a single day,” he said.

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Weiss also said Veronika was a kind person — the type that would have reached out to someone like Rodger, who said in a YouTube video posted before the killings that he wanted to exact “retribution” after a life of social and sexual isolation.

“[Veronika] was the person who would reach out to the kids who weren’t the popular kids, some of the nerdy kids, some of the kids that were a little bit like this Rodger kid described himself as,” Weiss told CNN.

In his writings detailing the plans for his attack, the 22-year-old said he would kill his roommates, which he did, and attack a sorority house.

READ MORE: Killer’s family tried to intervene before rampage

Rodger pounded on the door of the Alpha Phi sorority house for several minutes. After no one opened the door, he walked away and encountered Veronika and two others.

Veronika was shot and killed along with Katherine Cooper. A third member of their sorority, Delta Delta Delta, was wounded.

Rodger died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Police found his body inside his black BMW that had crashed into parked cars after hitting two cyclists.

Police found three semi-automatic handguns and 400 unused rounds of bullets in the car.

With files from The Associated Press

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