Officials say 5th Santa Monica shooting victim dies

Santa Monica College officials said Sunday that Marcela Franco, a passenger who was shot in an SUV driven by her father during Friday's rampage, has died.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A woman who was critically wounded in the Santa Monica shooting rampage has died, bringing the total number of victims killed by the gunman to five.

Santa Monica College officials say 26-year-old Marcela Franco died Sunday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

She had been a passenger in a Ford Explorer driven by her father, 68-year-old campus employee Carlos Navarro Franco, who also was killed in the attack.

Police Sgt. Richard Lewis confirmed the suspect's identity Sunday as John Zawahri. Investigators trying to determine why he planned the shooting spree focused on a deadly act of domestic violence that touched off the mayhem.

The heavily armed man's attack against his father and older brother at their home led to the violence in Santa Monica streets, lasting just a matter of minutes until he was shot to death in a chaotic scene at the college library by police.

Authorities had not immediately named the shooter or the two men found dead in the house because next of kin was out of the country and hadn't been notified. Lewis said his name was released Sunday after his mother cut her trip short and came back to the country.

Santa Monica's police chief said Saturday that Zawahri planned the attack and had 1,300 rounds of ammunition.

Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said Zawahri, who was killed by police, had a rifle, a duffel bag full of ammunition magazines and extra weaponry.

She said Zawahri had a run-in with police seven years ago, but she couldn't comment further because he was a juvenile at the time.

She spoke near a display of weapons and ammo recovered from Santa Monica College where the killings ended when police fatally shot the gunman.

FRIDAY'S EVENTS

Seabrooks told reporters the rampage began when Zawahri, dressed in all black and wearing what appeared to be a ballistic jacket, opened fire on a house where two bodies were found.

Two officials briefed on the investigation say the killings Friday began as a domestic violence incident. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.

Zawahri's brother and father were found in a burning home about a mile from the Santa Monica College campus where Zawahri was killed.

Santa Monica College shooting rampage: Law enforcement officers search campus of Santa Monica College.Reuters: Jonathan Alcorn

As the house burst into flames, police say Zawahri wounded a woman in a car before moving toward the campus, spraying bullets as he went. Police said he opened fire on a city bus, a police car and other vehicles, as well as bystanders and pedestrians.

He fired on an SUV that was leaving a campus parking lot. That vehicle's driver, identified by Los Angeles County coroners as 68-year-old Carlos Navarro Franco of west Los Angeles, was killed and two passengers were wounded as the car crashed through a block wall.

Santa Monica shooting: People hug near the shooting scene.Zuma Press: Charlie Aughenbaugh

From there, the gunman entered the campus, shooting a woman as he made his way toward the college's library, where students were studying for final exams. That woman died at a hospital.

Police say Zawahri entered the college's library and fired on other people but apparently didn't hit them, Seabrooks said. He was shot and killed by officers in the library.

Some students in the library took refuge in what Seabrooks called a "safe room" where they stacked items against the door to prevent entry and avoided bullets fired through the rooms walls.

Seabrooks said Saturday the suspect had dropped a large bag containing extra rounds and a hand gun. She said, based on what was in the bag, that 1,300 rounds could have been fired if the suspect hadn't been stopped.

The identities of those killed other than Franco were not immediately released.

THE WOUNDED

Three women with gunshot wounds were admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said Dr. Marshall Morgan, the chief of emergency medicine. One died and another, who arrived in serious condition, was upgraded to fair condition Friday night. A third woman wounded in the shooting has been given a "grim prognosis," according to Seabrooks.

Three other women went to UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica with relatively minor injuries, Morgan said. One had shrapnel-type injuries and the two others had injuries not related to gunfire, he said. All were treated and released.

 

Santa Monica College shooting: The body of a man believed to be the suspect in a shooting incident at Santa Monica College lies on the sidewalk in Santa Monica, Calif., on Friday.Reuters: Daniel Kraft

A SECOND SHOOTER?

Police initially believed a second shooter might be involved and the campus was searched for that person. A man who was taken into custody as a "person of interest" was later released and police now say they believe the gunman acted alone.

WHERE THE INCIDENT STARTED

Santa Monica shootingReuters: Jonathan Alcorn

Jeff Furrows of the Santa Monica Fire Department said there was extensive fire damage inside the home where two bodies were found, and one of the wounded women was found with a gunshot wound in a car nearby.

Jerry Cunningham Rathner, who lives near the house, said she heard gunshots and came out onto her porch to see a man shooting at the residence. Soon, the building erupted in flames and was billowing smoke.

The gunman went to the corner and pointed a rifle at a woman in a car and told her to pull over, Rathner said. He then signaled to a second car, also driven by a woman, to slow down and began firing into the vehicle.

"He fired three to four shots into the car — boom, boom, boom, right at her," said Cunningham, who went to the woman's aid and saw she was wounded in the shoulder. She said the gunman then abducted the woman in the first car and drove away.

THE LIBRARY

The scene shifted to the library at Santa Monica College. Several students in the library reported hearing gunfire, and one witness said he heard a woman scream.

"The officers came in and directly engaged the suspect and he was shot and killed on the scene," Seabrooks said.

DEATH TOLL REVISED

Police had said earlier that seven people were killed, including the gunman, but they revised the death toll to a total of five at a news conference late Friday (four victims and the gunman). Police said there initially were conflicting descriptions of some victims and they were counted twice.

Gunman attacks Santa Monica College: Map locating Santa Monica CollegeBing Maps

SANTA MONICA COLLEGE

Santa Monica College is located in a neighborhood of strip malls and homes more than a mile inland from the city's famous Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade and its expansive, sandy beaches.

The two-year college, with about 34,000 students, was in the midst of final exams Friday. It was quickly locked down by police, and students were told to leave.

The college will reopen Monday morning at 7 a.m., authorities announced on Saturday. All exams set for Monday will take place as scheduled.

Related: Deadliest attacks at US schools and colleges

Gunman attacks Santa Monica College: SWAT officers conduct a search at Santa Monica College following a shooting on campus.Reuters: Jonathan Alcorn

PRESIDENT OBAMA NEARBY

All of this unfolded about 3 miles from where President Barack Obama was attending a fundraising luncheon. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said the agency was aware of the shooting but it had no impact on the president's event.

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