Lucky Radley was heartbroken when he heard about a killing spree on a college campus less than an hour from his California home.
It was unsettling when he realized that the 22-year-old man who authorities say is responsible for the stabbing and shooting deaths of six University of California, Santa Barbara, students was a childhood friend.
But how he felt when he learned that Elliot Rodger included his name in Rodger's lengthy and disturbing "manifesto" explaining his horrific, deadly plans was something the University of Utah senior running back could hardly put into words.
“Honestly, I was just disturbed by the whole thing,” said Radley, who is home in California visiting family before the Utes begin summer workouts in early June. “I’m kind of at a loss for words. I never thought anyone would think of me like that.”
Radley’s relationship with Rodger was so brief and so insignificant, the Utah senior hadn’t thought about the man since they played video games together in elementary school.
But Radley’s friendly, outgoing personality was the reason Rodger said he hated him. In his manifesto, which begins with his birth and chronicles a number of experiences he feels were humiliating and traumatic, he singles out Radley, as he does a few other people who were once his friends.
He mentions a boy who is popular with girls, followed by this passage about Radley.
“Another one was Lucky Radley, the black kid I played with in father’s neighborhood,” Rodgers wrote. “He transferred to Pinecrest during that very year, and he immediately became popular with the pretty girls of his grade. I hated him for it.”
Radley said he learned that he’d been mentioned by name in the manifesto from a mutual childhood friend the day after he watched Rodger’s video on YouTube.
“It’s crazy,” said Radley of the entire situation.
Radley appeared on CNN Monday morning and said that Rodger was never a close friend.
“I went over to his house a couple of times, played games with him,” Radley said during the television interview. “He was he sat at the same desk or the same table as me in my classroom. I didn’t know him. I mean, that’s about as far as it goes.”
Radley told both CNN and the Deseret News that he was shocked that Rodger mentioned him at all, let alone with disdain. The two never had any problems and simply had different interests.
A CNN reporter read this passage to Radley Tuesday morning: "Lucky would later go to the same middle school as me, where he would become an object of extreme jealousy and hatred. Looking back, I can't believe I actually played with him as a friend in my father's neighborhood."
Radley said he was “just shocked. I literally didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.”
Like most people, Radley is heartbroken and disturbed by the killing spree that ended with Rodger’s apparent suicide.
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims,” he said, adding that being a college student himself makes it even more surreal. “You see things like this in movies, but you never imagine anything like this. For me to be connected to (it), I’m still mind blown from it.”
Radley, who missed spring camp with an injury, will return to Utah on Tuesday, June 3.
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