The parents of University of California killer Elliot Rodger are mourning the victims more than they are mourning their son.
"We are crying in pain for the victims and their families," Peter and Chin Rodger said in a statement. "It breaks our hearts on a level that we didn't think possible.
"The feeling of knowing that it was our son's actions that caused the tragedy can only be described as hell on earth. It is now our responsibility to do everything we can to help avoid this happening to any other family. Not only to avoid any more innocence destroyed, but also to identify and deal with the mental issues that drove our son to do what he did."
A family friend, Simon Astaire, read the statement on the Today show Thursday morning.
Astaire said he spent time with the parents the day after Friday's mass shooting in which six people were killed near the Santa Barbara campus.
"They are diminished," Astaire said on the show. "They have gone down in size. They are virtually unrecognizable."
Police say Rodger, 22, stabbed three roommates to death in his apartment before starting his shooting spree outside a sorority house. Police say he injured 13 other people before turning the gun on himself.
Rodger left a lengthy manifesto that he began writing three years ago and a disturbing video titled "Elliot Rodger's retribution" on YouTube.
Astaire said Peter and Chin Rodger have not read the manifesto, but that Peter Rodger has seen the video in its entirety.
"It is just awful," Astaire said of the manifesto. "It is an awful piece of writing."
He said the parents were racing to the University of California-Santa Barbara campus as the shooting started. He said the mother got a phone call from a social worker who had contact with Rodger, asking, "Have you seen your e-mail?"
She read three or four lines of it before turning instinctively to YouTube. She saw her son's retribution video and called her ex-husband.
"We have to go there," Peter Rodger told her.
Astaire said they were driving in separate cars to the campus when they heard on the radio that a shooting was taking place and a BMW was involved. Elliott Rodger drove a black BMW.
"They are living their nightmare," Astaire said. "They hear their son is murdering people."
Since then, their grief has been overwhelming.
Astaire said he wanted to "at least try to express their deep, deep remorse and grief for those innocents who didn't return Friday night."