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Santa Monica shooter left remorseful farewell note, police say

June 13, 2013|By Matt Stevens
  • Photos released by Santa Monica Police showing some of the weapons and ammunition John Zawahri had in his possession.
Photos released by Santa Monica Police showing some of the weapons and ammunition… (Santa Monica Police Department…)

The gunman who killed five people during a shooting rampage through Santa Monica left a farewell note expressing remorse for killing his father and brother, police said Thursday evening.

John Zawahri, 23, also wrote that he hoped his mother would be cared for financially and said goodbye to several friends, the Santa Monica Police Department said.

At a news conference Thursday night, police gave their most detailed account yet of how Zawahri made his way from his father’s home on Yorkshire Avenue to the Santa Monica College library, where he was fatally wounded by authorities last Friday.

Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said police found replica weapons and zip guns during a search of the gunman's house. She also said the state Department of Justice denied him a firearm in 2011.

"He had an affinity for weapons," Sgt. Richard Lewis said.

Despite Zawahri's  muti-page handwritten note, his motive for the shooting remained unclear, police said.

Authorities say Zawahri first killed his father, Samir, 55, and older brother, Christopher, 25, at their Santa Monica home before carjacking a motorist and forcing her at gunpoint to drive him to the campus.

Along the way he fired on other vehicles, including a sedan, a bus and a sport utility vehicle carrying Santa Monica College groundskeeper Carlos Franco, 68, and his daughter, Marcela, 26. Both died.

Police identified his last victim as Margarita Gomez, a 68-year-old visiting the campus to collect cans.

Sources said Zawahri suffered from mental problems and struggled with the divorce of his parents.

In 2006, an English teacher at Olympic High School in Santa Monica said he saw Zawahri surfing the Internet for assault weapons. Alarmed, he sent Zawahri to the principal's office. Within days, the police were involved and Zawahri was admitted to UCLA's psychiatric ward.

Zawahri appeared to have planned out Friday’s attack, strapping ammunition to his body as well as in pouches in his clothing and a protective vest.


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