Tags: santa | monica | shooting | note

Police: Santa Monica Gunman Left Farewell Note

Friday, 14 Jun 2013 11:02 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

LOS ANGELES — John Zawahri left a farewell note in which he expressed remorse for killing his father and brother but left no explanation for the rampage that left them and three others dead in Santa Monica, police said Thursday.

The three- to four-page note was found on Zawahri's body after he was shot and killed June 7 by officers on the campus of Santa Monica College, Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said at a news conference.

In the note, Zawahri, 23, also said goodbye to friends and expressed hope that his mother would be taken care of.

Seabrooks said investigators believe mental illness played a role in the killings, but she didn't give details.

"We know his was a troubled life and that he experienced mental health challenges," Seabrooks said. "We believe that his mental health challenges likely paid a role in his decisions to shoot and kill both his father and his brother, to set fire to the family home, and to go on a 13-minute shooting spree spanning roughly 1.5 miles and which left five innocent people dead and three people injured."

Zawahri apparently built his own .223-caliber assault weapon, using it to shoot his father and brother before he set fire to their family home, officials said earlier Thursday.

Seabrooks said the semi-automatic weapon appears to have been built with component parts that are legal to obtain, but put together make the rifle illegal in California.

She said he also modified an antique black-powder revolver so that it could hold .45-caliber ammunition; it was loaded during the shooting and he carried it with him in a duffel bag.

Zawahri's rampage ended when police killed him in the Santa Monica College library Friday. To get there, he had carjacked a woman, directing her to the college and having her stop so he could fire at vehicles and strangers. Police still did not know why he chose to go to the college, why he targeted those killed or why he chose that day.

Santa Monica police plan to work with the FBI to understand Zawahri's psychological makeup and motivation, Seabrooks said.

Officials said Thursday that the fire at Zawahri's father's home, which erupted soon after neighbors heard shots fired, was intentionally set.

An official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the fires were started in a front living room and atop one of two twin beds in another room. Several boxes of matches were also found in the bedroom.

Firefighters found the bodies of the gunman's father and brother in a back bedroom that was uninvolved in the blaze. The house was found unkempt with files and papers scattered throughout, providing ample kindling.

In Zawahri's bedroom, investigations found illegal zip guns, Seabrooks said. They also found ample evidence of his fascination with weapons, including four replica airsoft pellet guns, knives and gun magazines, said Sgt. Richard Lewis. Investigators also found a drill press among other materials that indicate he likely assembled the weapon.

The drill press is used to help finish building the rifle by drilling holes in the lower receiver. Police said Zawahri bought a lower receiver that was only 80 percent complete. Because it is not complete and not considered a full weapon, a person isn't required to go through a background check to get one, nor does the part need to have a serial number.

In California, weapons like Zawahri's require a "bullet button" kit, which needs to be added to a lower parts kit to make it legal. The bullet button kit modifies the weapon so that a separate tool must be used to release an ammunition magazine and reload the gun; without such a modification a person can press a button to release the magazine.

Zawahri was carrying 1,300 rounds of ammunition in magazines that were capable of holding 30 rounds each. Such high-capacity magazines are illegal to purchase, sell or transfer in California. Possession is not illegal.

Zawahri's last reported contact with law enforcement was seven years ago, when bomb-making materials were found at his house during a search prompted by threats to students, teachers and campus police officers at Olympic High, a school for students with academic or disciplinary issues.

The Santa Monica-Malibu school board was briefed at the time by school administrators after police found Zawahri was learning to make explosives by downloading instructions from YouTube, school board member Oscar de la Torre said.

Retired police officer Cristina Coria, who helped serve the search warrant, said Zawahri was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation at the time. She didn't know the outcome of the evaluation.

Police declined to provide further details, saying Zawahri was a minor at the time. But once a person is held for such an exam, they cannot access or possess firearms for five years.

In the case of Zawahri, that prohibition would have expired in 2011.

Police said Thursday that in 2011, Zawahri tried to buy a weapon but was denied by the California Department of Justice, likely because of that 2006 incident.

Despite that denial, Seabrooks said, Zawahri was able to buy the component parts to build his own weapon and obtain an array of magazines.

Santa Monica police said they will work with the ATF to understand how he came to possess these gun components, Seabrooks said.


© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Congress Approves $225 Million for Israeli 'Iron Dome' System

Friday, 01 Aug 2014 22:54 PM

Congress approved $225 million in emergency funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system on Friday, sending t . . .

500 Army Majors to Be Axed in Latest Budget Cuts

Friday, 01 Aug 2014 22:39 PM

Pink slips will start going out next week to about 500 Army majors – including some on duty in Afghanistan – in the late . . .

Arizona Inmate Was Injected 15 Times During Botched Execution

Friday, 01 Aug 2014 21:54 PM

During the nearly two hours it took for an Arizona death row inmate to die last week, executioners injected him with 15  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved