Police identify Santa Monica shooting suspect after fifth victim pronounced dead
Police identified the 23-year-old suspect in a string of attacks in Santa Monica, California responsible for the deaths of five people before authorities killed him in a shoot-out inside a library, ABC News reported on Sunday.
Authorities also said that John Zawahri shot and killed his father, 55-year-old Samir Zawahri and his brother, 25-year-old Christopher Zawahri, at their home with an assault rifle before setting the house on fire and making his way toward Santa Monica College, trying to carjack two motorists and shooting at others while carrying more firearms and ammunition inside a duffel bag later recovered on campus.
KABC-TV reported on Sunday that another victim, 26-year-old Marcela Franco, was pronounced dead on Sunday, about a day after being taken off life support by her family. She was shot while riding in a Ford Explorer with her father, 68-year-old Carlos Franco. Authorities said the two were on the way to the college bookstore when Zawahri shot them, killing the elder Franco instantly and sending the vehicle crashing into a wall. An unidentified woman, described as being in her fifties, was also shot and killed on campus. Police said she was not a student.
“She was actually trying to take more classes,” a family friend, Jessica Martínez, told KCAL-TV. “She was going to take summer courses and she wanted to go get books and they were on their way home when everything happened.”
A high school classmate of John Zawahri’s told KABC that Zawahri’s home was searched by police in 2006 after Zawahri allegedly threatened fellow students at Olympic High School in Santa Monica.
“He started talking to me and my friend about basically doing violent things,” the classmate said to KABC while disguising their voice to protect their identity. “He would ask us to fight him so he could feel what it felt like to get into a fight, he could feel the hits. He showed us the ski masks and the crow bar that he was going to use to steal the M-16 in the cop car.”
Police said on Saturday that they had met with John Zawahri that year but did not elaborate on the encounter, citing his status as a minor at the time.
Watch KABC’s report, aired Sunday, below.