2013 Santa Monica shooting

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2013 Santa Monica shooting
LA County Incorporated Areas Santa Monica highlighted.svg
Location of Santa Monica within Los Angeles County, in the state of California.
Location Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Coordinates 34°01′08″N 118°28′12″W / 34.0188290°N 118.4700428°W / 34.0188290; -118.4700428
Date June 7, 2013
11:52 a.m.–12:05 p.m. (PDT)
Attack type
Spree shooting, school shooting, arson
Weapons AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle, Remington Model 1858 revolver
Deaths 6 (including the perpetrator)[1]
Non-fatal injuries
4 (2 by gunfire)[2][3]
Perpetrator John Samir Zawahri[4][5]

On June 7, 2013, a killing spree by a lone shooter occurred in Santa Monica, California, starting with a domestic dispute and subsequent fire at a home, followed by a series of shootings near and on the campus of Santa Monica College. Six people were killed, including the suspect, and four people were injured in the incident.[1][2][6] The shooter, 23-year-old John Zawahri, was killed by police officers when he exchanged gunfire with them at the Santa Monica College library.[4]

Events[edit]

Family murders and arson[edit]

The California Highway Patrol received a phone call of shots fired at 11:52 a.m. PDT.[7] Upon arrival, police called the fire department when they saw a house on fire, located at 2036 Yorkshire Avenue. After the fire was under control, the bodies of two men were found in the house, and at least one had died from gunshots.[8]

Shooting spree[edit]

After setting fire to the house, Zawahri, armed with an AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle, stopped a woman driving a Mazda hatchback, holding her at gunpoint. A passing female driver tried to intervene and was shot and wounded by the gunman.[9] He then ordered the driver of the first car, a 41-year-old woman, to drive him to the Santa Monica College campus.[4] Along the way, Zawahri shot at a city bus, injuring three people, and also at a police cruiser. Upon arriving on the college campus, Zawahri shot into a Ford Explorer, killing the 68-year-old male driver and critically wounding the passenger, the driver's 26-year-old daughter who died two days later.[10][11][dead link] He then continued on foot toward the college library, fatally shooting another woman immediately outside.[4][12] Entering the library, Zawahri opened fire on students inside. Witnesses stated they heard gunshots and screams, but were able to hide or escape unharmed.[4][13][14] While on the campus, he fired at least 70 rounds and dropped a duffel bag loaded with ammunition magazines, boxes of bullets, and a .44 revolver.[10]

When police arrived at the college, they exchanged gunfire with Zawahri. He was fatally shot by police inside the library and then brought outside where he died.[15] Authorities investigated up to nine crime scenes believed to be tied to the thirteen-minute-long shooting spree.[9][16]

Aftermath[edit]

Santa Monica College was placed on lockdown and issued a statement on its Facebook page for students to stay away from the campus. The lockdown was lifted later that day but the campus grounds remained closed until the following Monday morning, when students were scheduled to take final exams.[17] All schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District were placed on lockdown as well.[18]

President Barack Obama was in Santa Monica at the time for a fundraiser just a ten-minute drive from the campus. His motorcade was rerouted and he left safely on Air Force One.[6][19]

On August 7, 2013, the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees adopted a resolution banning firearms on its nine area campuses. The resolution cited "repeated, serious occurrences of campus-based shootings". It also stated "the presence of firearms, even when nonoperational and in the instructional setting, lends itself to the potential for panic and fear". The policy allows weapons on campus only if carried by a sworn law enforcement officer or for use in a theatrical performance. It effectively ended the conduct of non-credit gun safety classes previously offered on LACCD campuses.[20]

Victims[edit]

Casualties
Killed
Perpetrator's father
  • Samir Zawahri, 55 (shot at home)
Perpetrator's brother
  • Christopher Zawahri, 24 (shot at home)
Others
  • Carlos Navarro Franco, 68 (shot in vehicle)
  • Marcela Dia Franco, 26 (shot in vehicle)
  • Margarita Gomez, 68 (shot outside college)
Perpetrator
  • John Zawahri, 23 (shot by police)
Wounded
  • Debra Lynn Fine, 50 (shot in vehicle)
  • Three unidentified victims (all wounded in bus)

Six people were killed on the day of the incident, including Zawahri, who was shot by police. One shooting victim died from her wounds in hospital two days later. Four others were injured.[1] The injured victims were treated at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The conditions of the wounded victims ranged from critical to good, and at least one underwent surgery. Two of the fatalities and at least three of the wounded were women.[6][21]

Zawahri's first victims were his father, 55-year-old Samir Zawahri, and older brother, 24-year-old Christopher Zawahri, both of whom lived in the home at 2036 Yorkshire Avenue in Santa Monica. They were believed to have been shot and killed after the house was set on fire.[22][23][5] One of the victims was a 50-year-old woman shot as she came upon the Yorkshire Avenue carjacking and attempted to intervene.[9][24] Three other women went to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with minor injuries; one had shrapnel-type injuries and the two others had injuries not related to gunfire. All were treated and released.[3]

On the day of the incident, two people were killed near the library at Santa Monica College.[25] One was a 68-year-old woman, Margarita Gomez, collecting recyclable material,[26] and the other was a 68-year-old groundskeeper for the school and the driver of the Ford Explorer. His 26-year-old daughter and passenger was wounded and died from her injuries in a hospital two days later.[27][28]

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office released the causes of death on June 12. Samir Zawahri was shot multiple times, and Christopher Zawahri was shot once in the chest. The school groundskeeper died of gunshot wounds to the neck and face; his daughter, a student at the college, died of a gunshot wound to the head. The woman who was collecting cans outside the library died after being shot in the abdomen and chest. Zawahri died of multiple gunshot wounds.[29]

Shooter[edit]

John Zawahri
Born John Samir Zawahri
(1989-06-08)June 8, 1989
Lebanon[5]
Died June 7, 2013(2013-06-07) (aged 23)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Multiple gunshot wounds
Occupation None (former student)
Parents Samir Zawahri (father)
Randa Abdou (mother)
Motive Unknown
Killings
Date June 7, 2013
11:52 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
Location(s) Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Killed 5
Injured 2

John Samir Zawahri (June 8, 1989 – June 7, 2013)[5] was identified by officials as the shooter on June 8. He was armed with an AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle, a .44 1858 Remington model cap-and-ball muzzleloading revolver, and an additional upper receiver for the rifle. He was described as wearing black tactical clothing and "body armor" by his carjacking victim Laura Sisk, though it was later determined the tactical vest did not contain any type of armor.[11][30] Sources said Zawahri had forty 30-round magazines in pouches in his clothing and in a bag he carried. Ammunition was strapped to his body as well as in pouches in his clothing and tactical vest.[31][32] Law enforcement sources stated that they believed the attack was premeditated, citing the gunman's extensive armament and preparation.[33]

In 2006, when Zawahri was a student at Olympic High School in Santa Monica, a teacher saw him surfing the internet for information on assault weapons and instructions on making explosive devices. School staff also learned that he had repeatedly made threats against students, teachers, and campus security officers. Within days, police were involved and bomb-making materials were found at his home. Zawahri was subsequently admitted to UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute.[27][32][34] Zawahri was a student of Santa Monica High School before enrolling in Santa Monica College in the winter of 2009.[35] The college had no disciplinary issues with Zawahri, officials said. He left the school in the fall of 2010.[36][37]

Motive[edit]

The rampage allegedly started over an undetermined family dispute. Public records show that Zawahri's parents were married in 1985 and moved into the house they purchased on Yorkshire Avenue in 1996, but the mother, Randa Abdou,[35] left the home and moved to an apartment with the two boys in 1998. She sought a restraining order against the father a short time later, but the case was dismissed when the mother failed to appear in court. Subsequently, the elder son lived with the father at the residence on Yorkshire Avenue, while Zawahri lived in an apartment in Mar Vista, Los Angeles with his mother. Though there is no record that the couple divorced, by 2013 they had been living separately for years.[32] Randa Abdou was out of the country visiting relatives at the time of the shooting, but returned during the following weekend and was assisting authorities in the investigation.[10][35]

Zawahri prepared a three-page handwritten note that was found on his body. In it, he expressed remorse for killing his father and brother, but did not give a motive. He said goodbye to friends and expressed hope that his mother would be taken care of and receive recompense from his father's estate. Investigators believe that mental illness played a role in the killings, but no details were given. Searching his home, police found replica weapons and illegal zip guns. It was also learned that the California Department of Justice advised Zawahri in an October 2011 letter that he was ineligible to purchase a firearm.[38] The incident occurred the day before Zawahri's 24th birthday.[5]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "3 dead in shooting, burned home near Calif. campus". Yahoo News. Retrieved June 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b June 7, 2013, 11:57 PM. "Injured victims of Santa Monica shooting". Cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
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  14. ^ "Carlos Navarro Franco, victim identified in Santa Monica shooting". WPTV. June 8, 2013. 
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  19. ^ Schreiber, John. "Obama Departs Santa Monica, Safely Lands in Palm Springs". Santamonica.patch.com. 
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  30. ^ "New Details Revealed In Santa Monica Shooting: Suspect Could Have Fired Up To 1,300 Rounds". Mediaite. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
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  37. ^ "Program description: Entertainment Technology". Santa Monica College. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
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