Thanks to an excellent police report, we now know more about what prompted mass killer Elliot Rodger to go on a killing spree in La Isla Vista, California on May 23, 2014. Rodger killed six people and injured 13 others before committing suicide. (You can read more about Rodger at this link.)
On July 21, 2013, Rodger attended a party where he said he was mocked and beaten. That incident convinced Rodger to carry out the mass murder he had been planning. Click here for an account of the party and a link to the police report. It is clear, objective, and thorough.
It could, however, be written more efficiently. Notice the repetition in this paragraph:
I asked Rodger how much alcohol he had been drinking when the altercation began and he said, “I drank two beers.” I asked Rodger why he had been attacked and called a “Faggot” and he said, “I don’t know why.” I asked Rodger why he didn’t call law enforcement after he was assaulted and he said, “I didn’t know who to call.”
This version eliminates the repetition (“I asked Rodger,” “I asked Rodger,” “I asked Rodger,”):
When I questioned Rodger, he told me:
-“I drank two beers.”
-He didn’t know why he had been called a “Faggot.”
-He didn’t call law enforcement about the assault because “ “I didn’t know who to call.”
Passive voice crept into Rodger’s descriptions of the men who attacked him:
I asked Rodger if he could describe any of the subjects who attacked him and he informed me of the following:
The first suspect was described as an Asian male, approximately 18-22 years of age, 5’09”, average build, with black hair, wearing blue jeans, and dark blue sweatshirt.
The second suspect was described as an Hispanic male approximately 18-22 years of age, 6’-2”, skinny build, short black hair, and unknown clothing description.
Here’s the same information in active voice (he told me), making it clear that Rodgers provided the description:
I asked Rodger if he could describe any of the subjects who attacked him. He told me:
-The first suspect was an Asian male, approximately 18-22 years of age, 5’09”, average build, with black hair, wearing blue jeans, and dark blue sweatshirt.
-The second suspect was an Hispanic male approximately 18-22 years of age, 6’-2”, skinny build, short black hair, and unknown clothing description.
Overall, though, this is an excellent example of a professional police report.
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