Santa Monica Shooting: New Details Emerge About Gunman
More details are coming out about the man police say killed four people during a shooting rampage in Santa Monica Friday.
Though authorities have not released the identity of the suspect, law enforcement officials speaking anonymously to The Los Angeles Times said he was John Zawahri, a man in his early 20s who had a previously dealt with mental health issues.
He died in a shootout with police near the Santa Monica College library after allegedly killing two men in a nearby home, hijacking a car and killing two more people.
Sources said Zawahri had been upset by his parents’ divorce, which police are considering a possible motive for the shootings. One of the victims was his father, Samir Zawahri, whose body was found in a burning home in Santa Monica. A second victim found at the home is said to be John Zawahri’s brother, who has not been publicly identified.
Police had been called to the address – located near the intersection of Kansas and Yorkshire avenues – in 2006 in an incident involving the suspect. They could not share additional information on the 2006 incident because the suspect was a minor at the time. In addition, an official told CNN the suspect had been treated years ago in a mental health facility because he had talked about harming other people.
On Saturday, police said the suspect had 1,300 rounds of ammunition with him during the attack. Authorities added he had a connection to Santa Monica College as recently as 2010 and they believed the shooting spree was premeditated.
“Any time someone puts on a vest of some sort, comes out with a bag full of loaded magazines, has an extra receiver, has a handgun and has a semiautomatic rifle, carjacks folks, goes to a college, kills more people and has to be killed at the hands of police,” Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks told the LA Times. “I believe that’s premeditated.”
The carnage began shortly before noon Friday, when neighbors say they heard gunshots and saw the suspect emerge from the burning home. He hijacked a Mazda hatchback and ordered the car’s driver to take him to Santa Monica College. He fired rounds with a semi-automatic weapon into the neighborhood, and on the way to the college fired at a city bus near Cloverfield and Pico boulevards, shattering the bus’ windows and injuring two passengers.
Near 20th and Pearl street, he fired at a red Ford explorer, killing a man identified by KTLA as Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, from West Los Angeles. On Saturday, police said the vehicle’s passenger was also injured and faced “a very grim prognosis.”
The suspect proceeded to the Santa Monica College library, where he exchanged fire with police officers, fled, and shot a woman near the building’s entrance. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, later died in a hospital.
Seabrooks said three police officers “neutralized” the suspect, and that five people were injured during the shooting – two of them seriously.
Though some of the rampage took place on Santa Monica College property, campus police said they do not consider it a school shooting, because it originated elsewhere.
Other details about the gunman have been reported, with ABC 7 quoting a neighbor who said the gunman was an "unemployed man who lived with his mother in Mar Vista." The station also posted a photo of items the suspect was found with, including ammunition and weapons. (See the photo here.)