Santa Monica Shooting Kills Five People
Posted by Nedda Alishahi on Jun 7, 2013 - 10:21:02 PM
SANTA MONICA—The shootings in Santa Monica resulted in a death toll of five including the shooting suspect. Five people were also reportedly injured with one of the individuals in critical condition. The suspect has been identified as 23 year-old Santa Monica College student John Zawahri.
The shootings were first reported just before noon on Friday, June 7, when residents of Santa Monica heard gunshots nearby. When officers responded, they found that a house in Santa Monica, near the Santa Monica College, was on fire. Two bodies were found dead inside.
Neighbors of the house that was on fire claim that it belongs to the father and brother of who they believe to be the shooting suspect. Zawahri also reportedly aimed his firearm at two passing cars that noticed the blaze and proceeded to shoot into one of them, shattering the driver side window. The female driver of that car was treated for injuries.
The suspect, who was described as a white male in his mid-20s to early 30s wearing all black, allegedly fled from the scene when police approached. He reportedly shot and killed several individuals on the streets in front of the college. Those have been deemed by police to be random shootings.
Once Zawahri reached Santa Monica College he made his way to the library where he shot a female victim before going inside. He reportedly used some sort of assault rifle and continued shooting as he went inside. According to reports, no one was shot in the library as students and faculty ran for cover.
Students barricaded themselves inside rooms and waited, not knowing at the time that police had already pursued the suspect. Once police entered the library, there was a standoff and the suspect was shot and killed. The suspect whose identity remained unknown reportedly had several weapons on him including the assault rifle.
Deputies respond to the scene at Santa Monica College: Photo courtesy of Genaro Molina
Although a person of interest was taken into custody and investigated following the suspect’s death, that person was later released when no relation to the shootings was discovered. Police officials are still investigating the motive for the shootings, but believe Zawahri was working alone.
It was finals week at Santa Monica College with many students in the library studying. The school was placed on lockdown for several hours while police cleared the scene. The campus has been closed for the remainder of the investigation.
The death toll had originally been placed at six in addition to the shooting suspect, but was lowered to four, not counting the shooter. Of the injured, one is in critical condition and the other is in fair condition, both females and both being treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Three more women were also injured and were treated at UCLA Medical Center for minor injuries before being released.
A news conference on Saturday, June 8 revealed that the shooter reportedly had 1,300 rounds of ammunition as well as several weapons, including some sort of assault rifle. Officials indicated that the suspect had been involved in an incident in 2006, but because he had been a minor at the time no information was released.