Before he exacted his revenge, Elliot Rodger wrote extensively about the people he hated for rejecting him: Popular men. Beautiful women. People who partied hard.

James Hong, David Wang and George Chen were not those people. They just happened to spend time in the same apartment as Rodger.

When Chen, Wang and Hong arrived at UC Santa Barbara in the fall of 2012, they became fast friends.

Introduced through their computer engineering classes, they shared a passion for math and science and dreamed of creating a start-up together after graduation. They had each moved from the Bay Area — Chen and Wang were the sons of Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. via Canada; Hong emigrated from Taiwan.

They avoided their university's often wild party scene, family and friends said, preferring computer games, programming marathons or pickup basketball.

When their second year rolled around, Wang and Hong moved into a small apartment in Isla Vista, the beachside community near UCSB. Chen's parents wanted him to live on campus for another year, so a third roommate was assigned to Apartment No. 7 in the charcoal-gray complex on Seville Road. His name was Elliot Rodger.

From the beginning, there was friction. When Wang's mother helped him move in, she recalled, she told the three roommates to look after one another. Rodger brushed her off.

Wang later told his mother that Rodger spent a lot of time out of the apartment or alone in his room.

Rodger didn't care for his roommates. In a 137-page diatribe, he complained about the noise they made and called them names. "These were the biggest nerds I had ever seen," he wrote.

The mood in the apartment grew more tense over time. In January, Rodger became enraged over a meal Hong was cooking and snatched away a measuring cup. Annoyed, Hong grabbed the closest thing that belonged to Rodger — three candles — and expected to make a trade. Instead, Rodger called the police and made a citizen's arrest.

When a sheriff's deputy arrived, Hong insisted he had proof Rodger had been moving his belongings around the apartment. Rodger denied the claims, the deputy wrote in a report. When Hong refused to give the candles back, the deputy handcuffed him and booked him on suspicion of petty theft.

Hong was frustrated, but he didn't want to further escalate tensions with his roommate. By May, he and Wang had made plans to move out, and they signed a lease with Chen for a new apartment. They kept their distance from Rodger.

This was life in Apartment No. 7 until May 23.

That night, police discovered the bodies of Chen, 19, Wang, 20, and Hong, 20, inside.

Exactly what happened remains unclear. Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown called it a "pretty horrific crime scene," saying the three men had been "stabbed repeatedly with sharp objects."

An attorney representing the three families, Todd Becker, said they believe the killings occurred sometime that day and that a knife, a hammer and a machete were used.

Police found the bodies late that night after Rodger embarked on his deadly rampage across Isla Vista, killing three other UCSB students and wounding 13 people before taking his own life.

There are many questions, including how the slightly built Rodger could have overpowered the three young men. A sheriff's spokeswoman said investigators were looking into whether the victims had been drugged.

"I don't want to know," David Wang's mother, Jinshuang Liu, said at her home in Fremont, her eyes brimming with tears. "I remember my son as really handsome, good heart, nice to everybody. That's what I remember."

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