Bullet Narrowly Misses Studying Student on Santa Monica Bus

The bus on which a gunman fired was carrying about 20 riders, a light load, according to transit officials

Surveillance video from inside a Santa Monica restaurant shows the frightening moments when a gunman, clad in all black and carrying a rifle, opened fire on a transit bus shortly before noon June 7.

The video from inside Z Garden restaurant in the 2300 block of Pico Boulevard shows customers ducking underneath tables as a shooter, identified by police as 23-year-old John Zawahri, opens fire.

"He was shooting a really, really big gun," said Aziz Guizani, who was just about to make a delivery for the restaurant. "Shooting everywhere. It was really crazy."

The bus, on route 7, was on its normal route, heading west on Pico Boulevard toward Santa Monica college. Zawahri allegedly began shooting at the bus near Pico Boulevard and 24th Street.

Sophia Schoenberg, a student at Santa Monica College, was sitting next to a window and came face to face with Zawahri.

"I was just looking over my biology guide," she told NBC4 Monday. "I look up because my bus driver starts honking a lot.

"He looked me in the eye before he started shooting," Schoenberg said. "His car was right next to my window."


Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.

1 hospitalized in stabbing on Metro bus in Lynwood

Pursuit driver and passenger abandon car on 5 Freeway in Downey

One bullet came less than half an inch from her head, she said.

"I see a bullet fly past my face, people are crying and begging the driver to drive away," Schoenberg recalled. "He kept shooting and must have shot at least ten more times."

The bus driver, a woman who has yet to be identified Monday, got her passengers to safety. She stopped the bus near Cloverfield and Pico boulevards.

Riders, including Schoenberg, helped three injured passengers, who were struck by shrapnel.

"I told her you need to keep pressure on that wound and I had my hand on her wound," Schoenberg said. "A lot of other passengers helped, too. I was just holding her head, talking to her and making sure she was comprehensive, until the ambulance came."

A spokesperson for the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus said there were 20 passengers on the bus during the incident.

The bus, she said, would normally be "standing room" only, but had a light passenger load that day due to finals week at Santa Monica College.

Contact Us