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Santa Monica College: 'Surreal' scene as gunman shot up bus

June 07, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein, Robert Faturechi and Angel Jennings

A Santa Monica College student described the "surreal" scene inside a city bus as a gunman sprayed the vehicle with bullets.

Marta Fagerstroem, 30, was on the No. 7 bus, studying for a final exam when the big blue transit bus stopped at a red light on Pico and Cloverfield boulevards.  The bus driver opened her window and waved at a car in the left lane, she said.  When the light turned green, the bus didn't move and Fagerstroem looked up from her textbook to see what was causing the delay.

As the film student looked out the window, she saw a man holding what she described as a "big rifle" on the left side of the bus.

"Everybody started screamed and threw themselves on the floor," she said.  "It was so surreal."

The passengers laid on top of each other and began shielding themselves from the barrage of bullets that ripped through the bus window.  Fagerstroem saw a couple of bullets come through the windows before she ducked for cover.  Gunfire rang out as the gunman moved from the front of the bus to the back, shooting from the outside.  The passengers yelled for the driver to move the bus.

"It happened so fast," said Fagerstroem, who's from Sweden. 

The driver turned down Cloverfield Boulevard.  When Fagerstroem looked up she said a woman sitting in the back row of the bus had been wounded.  A bullet grazed the side her head. 

"She was bleeding all over herself," Fagerstroem said. 

Michael Onubah, 22, spotted the bus filled with bullet holes.  He saw a woman with a white hoodie covered with blood on the side of her face and sweater. 

The woman was taken to the hospital. Once police arrived, Fagerstroem gave them a statement and went back to her West Los Angeles home.

"I'm still in shock," she said, her voice quivering.  "You don't expect this."

At least six people were taken to hospitals in the wake of the shooting rampage in the Santa Monica College area, and one woman has died from her wounds. Two bodies were found in a home near campus that the gunman allegedly set on fire, law enforcement sources said.

The sources said the gunman allegedly set the home on fire, opened fire on several cars and the bus and appeared to try to carjack two vehicles. One of the carjackings occurred near the campus library and college police station.

The suspect fled to the library, where he was wounded by police, the sources added.

ALSO:

Witnesses mistook gunfire for firecrackers 

3rd victim dead in Santa Monica College shooting 

At least 6 are transported to hospitals in crime spree

Twitter: LATangel

angel.jennings@latimes.com

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