By TAMI ABDOLLAH
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A man with a semi-automatic rifle killed at least four people and wounded several others Friday as he carried out a deadly rampage across several blocks of a normally idyllic beachfront city. Police shot him dead in the Santa Monica College Library.
The violence began when the gunman, dressed in all black and wearing what appeared to be a ballistic jacket, opened fire on a house where two bodies were found, Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said.
Two officials said Friday night that the killings began as a domestic violence incident and the victims in the home were the gunman’s father and brother. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.
As the house burst into flames, the man wounded a woman in a car before moving toward the campus, spraying bullets as he went. Police said he opened fire on a city bus, a police car and other vehicles, as well as bystanders and pedestrians.
The driver of an SUV leaving a campus parking lot was killed and two passengers were wounded as the car crashed through a block wall.
From there, the gunman entered the campus, fatally wounding a woman as he made his way toward the college’s library, where students were studying for final exams.
“We saw a woman get shot in the head,” said administrative assistant Trena Johnson, who looked out the window of the dean’s office, where she works, when she heard gunfire. “I haven’t been able to stop shaking,” she said.
Inside the library, students reported hearing gunfire and screams.
“I was totally scared to death and I can’t believe it happened so fast,” said Vincent Zhang, a 20-year-old economics major who said he heard a woman pleading, “No, no. Please, no.”