Police: Santa Monica shooting suspect was ‘dressed for battle’
Santa Monica police said on Saturday that the string of attacks linked to a suspect who was shot and killed by authorities were part of a premeditated assault involving an array of weaponry, KNBC-TV reported.
“Anytime someone puts on a vest, 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 neutralized at the hands of the police, I would say that’s premeditated,” police chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said at a press conference.
Seabrooks did not identify the 23-year-old male suspect, saying authorities needed to notify next of kin living overseas. The suspect’s first two victims, found in a home near Santa Monica College that had been set on fire, are believed to be his father and brother. She did say that the suspect and one relative were enrolled at the school as recently as 2010, and that police encountered the suspect in 2006, but could not disclose the nature of that meeting because he was underage at the time.
The suspect is believed to have shot and killed two other people while making his way from the house to the college, while shooting at motorists and at a local bus, before shooting a woman on campus and entering the library, where local and campus police shot and killed him. Police spokesperson John Lewis described him as being “heavily armed” and “dressed for battle.”
Seabrooks said that the suspect carrying a .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle and multiple loaded magazines. KABC-TV reported that police also revealed more firearms, found inside a duffel bag the suspect dropped while going through the campus. At least 20 loaded magazines were found inside, along with a .44-caliber handgun and an upper receiver for the rifle. She estimated that he was carrying about 1,300 rounds of ammunition.
KABC identified another victim, described by Seabrooks as having a “grim prognosis” for recovery, as Marcela Franco. Her father, 68-year-old Carlos Navarro Franco, was killed when the suspect shot at his red SUV before entering campus. The vehicle then crashed into a parking lot wall. Marcela Franco is on life support at a local hospital.
Watch footage from Seabrooks’ press conference, posted Saturday by KCAL-TV, below.