One year after a gunman opened fire on the campus of Santa Monica College, family members continued to remember the victims as the anniversary neared.
Margaret Quinones said her niece Marcela was leaving the campus bookstore with her father Carlos Franco on June 7, 2013 when a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle went on a rampage. Both Carlos and Marcela were killed in the shooting.
“Carlos was just a hardworking father,” said Quinones. “Marcy just loved everybody.”
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A year later, Quinones said her family doesn’t carry any anger toward shooter John Zawahri, who killed his father and brother at home before opening fire at the campus, where he was shot and killed by police.
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“We don’t speak ill of the shooter or his family,” Quinones said. “I think we’re still numb there.”
But after the recent rampage in Isla Vista that left six innocent UC Santa Barbara students dead, Quinones said she felt as if she were reliving the Santa Monica College shooting all over again.
“You want to think that’s, you know, only once-in-a-lifetime,” Quinones said.
Quinones, a long-time member of the college’s board of trustees, said changes have been made to try and prevent future shootings. A state of the art emergency alert system has been put in place, the policy against guns on campus is stricter and officers who responded to the mass shooting were awarded for their acts of valor.
As memorials adorned the campus on the anniversary of the shooting, Quinones hoped people passing by would reflect on their loved ones.
“Making them cherish their own families and making them cherish their own communities,” Quinones said. “Then that’s the joy we get out of it.”