On Thursday, Peter and Chin Rodger, the parents of University of California, Santa Barbara gunman Elliot Rodger, released their first statement since Friday's shooting, describing the situation as "hell on earth."

"We are crying out in pain for the victims and their families. It breaks our hearts on a level that we didn't think was possible," they said in a statement read on CNN by family friend Simon Astaire. "The feeling of knowing that it was our son's actions that caused this tragedy can only be described as hell on earth."

Astaire also told CNN about his interactions with Elliot Rodger.

In one brief conversation, Rodger asked Astaire — a novelist — if writing was a lonely experience.

Astaire described the process as "solitary," and Rodger replied with "I know what you mean," and turned away.

"As soon as you met him, he was unbearably reserved, self-contained, he seemed to merge into the walls," Astaire told CNN. "He seemed the loneliest person in the world."

[Image via AP]