A gunman who entered Santa Monica College in California, shooting and killing four and injuring several others, has been identified by law enforcement as John Zawahri. Zawahri’s shooting spree was ended by police Friday who open fired and shot the suspect fatally.
Sgt. Lewis of the Santa Monica Police Department described the gunman as “heavily armed…he was ready for battle.” Zawahri was found to be wearing a tactical vest and carrying a semiautomatic rifle, a handgun, and 1,300 rounds of ammunition.
Following a trail of 911 calls, Zawahri’s rampage across Santa Monica to the college campus lasted only 13 minutes before being met by police.
The first 911 emergency came from a residential neighborhood where Zawahri had set his home on fire. Firefighters on the scene found two bodies, the gunman’s brother and father, shot dead in the house.
After exiting the house, the Zawahri began firing upon a passing motorist, wounding her. Zawahri then seized another passing car, directing the driver toward Santa Monica College. Said Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks:
“He told her to drive at gunpoint, told her where to stop, told her he would kill her. She was obviously terrified.”
As Zawahri and his hostage approached the college, he opened fire at least twice, once at a bus and another at a passing Ford. Two bus passengers were found to have minor injuries. The driver of the Ford was immediately killed, crashing his car and severely injuring the passenger.
Once on campus Zawahri reportedly walked to the library on foot, killing a woman at the entrance, then discharging 70 rounds or more once inside, directing his fire at students who had barricaded themselves in a room. Police quickly arrived and fatally shot the gunman.
While motives for this killing spree are not known, police have stated that there is believed to be no link to domestic or international terrorism.
Zawahri was an enrolled student at Santa Monica College in 2010. Police have described the incident as clearly “premeditated.”
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