Santa Monica police have not yet released the name of the gunman who killed four people in the city on Friday, but gave some details today including that Saturday would have been his 24th birthday. The LA Times, citing law enforcement sources in Washington and Los Angeles, said the gunman was John Zawahri. He was a former student at Santa Monica College with some history of mental problems who may have been upset about a family divorce. The first two victims in a house in Santa Monica were his father and a brother.
Santa Monica police chief Jacqueline Seabrooks and other spokespeople for the department said that the gunman was armed with about 1,300 rounds of ammunition and had handguns in addition to an assault-style rifle. He fired at least 70 rounds inside the college library before being shot by police then dragged outside. Police said he came prepared to kill. “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...I believe that’s premeditated,” Seabrooks said.
The president of Santa Monica College, Chui L. Tsang, released a statement this afternoon about a longtime college employee who was killed and his daughter.
Dear College Community,
It is with deep sadness that I inform you that Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, a groundskeeper and longtime member of the Santa Monica College family, was killed Friday afternoon during the tragic series of shootings that culminated on our Main campus.
Franco's youngest daughter, Marcela, 26, was also one of the victims of Friday's shootings. She is in critical condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and is not expected to survive. A student at CSU Dominguez Hills, Marcela was with her father on the SMC campus to purchase textbooks for summer classes.
Carlos was truly a family man. He was a dedicated husband and father and an integral part of the Santa Monica College family. His dedicated work to the campus grounds was enjoyed by students and visitors for two decades. He will be sorely missed.
A groundskeeper whose work was appreciated by anyone who strolled through the Main Campus, especially the quad, Carlos was a dedicated worker for 22 years. Those close to him say that he devoted his life to his work and to his family.
When asked to describe Carlos, Tom Corpus, his supervisor, said: "Carlos was a very, very hard worker. He loved his job. He tried to make people happy and make sure he did the best job he could. He was all about his job. He was just a great asset to the college. Everything Carlos did was for the college and for his family."
The afternoon Carlos died, he was on his way with Marcela to meet his oldest daughter, Leticia, for a doctor's appointment.
"Every time I visited him, he would talk about his daughters and his family," said his nephew Mario Franco, a member of SMC’s Workforce and Economic Development Department. “He was a big family man. Everything he did was literally for his daughters."
The death of Carlos, who died at the scene, and the injuries to Marcela as they exited the lot at 20th and Pearl streets, were not the first tragedy to strike the Franco family. Carlos' son died two summers ago in a car accident.
Carlos' immediate family includes his wife, Ramona, who works at Saint John’s Hospital Child Study Center, and his daughters, Leticia and Marcela.
Carlos’ extended SMC family includes nephew Mario Franco, Student Services Specialist Sandra Franco and Board of Trustee Member Margaret Quiñones-Pérez.
The Santa Monica College Foundation has established a memorial fund honoring Carlos Franco....
The college also posted instructions for students, staff and faculty to retreive their cars and personal belongings.
Surveillance video grab of gunman entering Santa Monica College library