The gunman who went on a deadly 13-minute shooting rampage in Santa Monica, Calif., was “heavily armed” and “ready for battle” with some 1,300 rounds of ammunition, authorities said Saturday.
The shooter was killed by police on the campus of Santa Monica College, after a wave of violence left four victims dead and a fifth hospitalized in grave condition.
The suspect’s name was not released because authorities had not yet notified his family, who may be out of the country. Despite media reports, Santa Monica police and coroner are not publicly confirming the shooter's name.
New details emerged Saturday about the lone gunman, who would have turned 24 years old Saturday. Authorities believe the rampage was planned, but did not disclose a motive for the killings.
“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 that’s premeditated,” Santa Monica Police Chief Jaqueline A. Seabrooks said at an afternoon news conference.
If all of the magazines he had were loaded, the gunman would have been armed with some 1,300 rounds of ammunition, Seabrooks said. He fired at least 70 rounds inside the college library.
Authorities put on display Saturday the gunman's arsenal, pictured below.
Friday's violence began about 11:52 a.m. when police received reports of shots fired in the 2000 block of Yorkshire Avenue. They arrived to find a home engulfed in flames and a female driver who had been shot.
Two people were found dead in a back room in the charred home. The fire appeared to have started in the front of the 1,000-square-foot house, Santa Monica Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said. Details on how the pair died were not released.
Seabrooks said the shooter had a “familial connection” with the house, but would not go into further detail.
Clad in back and waving a semiautomatic weapon, the gunman carjacked a woman driving a blue Mazda hatchback. He forced her to drive him along Pico Boulevard toward Santa Monica College as he fired “indiscriminately” out the passenger side window.
He opened fire on a passenger vehicle and a Santa Monica city bus, striking riders, Seabrooks said, before running onto the two-year college campus located at 1900 Pico Boulevard.
At Cloverfield and Pico boulevards, he began firing randomly at people and vehicles, including a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, which wound up about a mile north riddled with bullets. At least two passengers suffered minor injuries, Seabrooks said.
Near 19th and Pearl streets, he fired into a red SUV, killing the male driver and wounding a passenger, police said. The driver was identified Saturday as Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, of West Los Angeles, by Coroner's Investigator Joyce Kato. Franco's 26-year-old daughter was in critical condition Saturday night, family members told NBC4.
The gunman then left the carjacked vehicle and scrambled onto the Santa Monica College campus. He tossed a bag filled with about 20 loaded magazines, a handgun and the upper receiver for a semiautomatic rifle, Santa Monice Police Sgt. Richard Lewis said.
The carjack victim was not harmed, Seabrooks said.
Campus worker Joe Orcutt told reporters the suspect fired a shot at him.
“He fired two (shots) in the parking lot area and then when I turned around he shot at me, I was the third,” Orcutt said. “And I heard probably another three, four individual shots until maybe three or four minutes later, and just a barrage of fire, which I'm assuming was the police firing at the library.”
The gunman fatally shot one female in front of the campus library, then fled inside, where he blasted some 70 rounds. Seabrooks said the shooter fired through drywall at library patrons inside a "saferoom."
"It's miraculous that those individuals were not physically injured," Seabrooks said.
The suspect was shot and killed by police about 12:05 p.m., 13 minutes after the rampage began, Lewis said.
Wearing a tactical vest but no bullet-proof armor, the gunman was shot by police in the library, Lewis said. The shooter was taken outside of the library and died on the sidewalk, he added.
Lewis said there were five to seven shooting locations. Investigations were being conducted at nine scenes total, he added.
The number of victims had changed multiple times over the course of a quickly developing breaking news story with a mile-wide crime scene. At one point, police released a higher death toll but retracted that information, saying they were citing witness accounts, instead of body count.
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A man taken into custody on campus was interviewed by police and released after investigators determined he had legitimate business at the school and was not a suspect.
Seabrooks said police made contact with the suspect in 2006, but could not release details because he was a minor at the time.
The shooter and a relative were enrolled at Santa Monica College as recently as 2010, Seabrooks said.
Any victims or witnesses who have not yet come forward are asked to call a hotline set up the Santa Monica Police Department at 310-458-8449.
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