Gunman kills five in Santa Monica massacre
A MAN with a semi-automatic rifle killed at least five people and wounded several others as he rampaged across several blocks of the city of Santa Monica, California, on Friday. Police shot him dead in a college library.
The violence began when the gunman opened fire on a house where two bodies were found, police chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said.
Two officials said that the killings began as a domestic violence incident and the victims in the home were the gunman's father and brother.
The man then wounded a woman in a car before moving toward the college 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 one passenger was wounded as the car crashed through a block wall.
From there, the gunman entered the campus, killing 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.
The gunman continued to shoot at people in the library, Ms Seabrooks said, as dozens ran for the exits. "The officers came in and directly engaged the suspect and he was shot and killed on the scene," she said.
Just five kilometres away, US President Barack Obama was attending a fundraising luncheon. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said the agency was aware of the shooting but it had no impact on the president's event.
After the gunman was killed, police wearing helmets and armed with shotguns and rifles searched the campus for a possible second shooter. A man dressed entirely in black, the words "Life is a Gamble" on the back of his sweatshirt, was seen being led away in handcuffs. Sergeant Richard Lewis, a police spokesman, said at a news conference on Friday night that the man was questioned and released, and he is not a suspect.
The identities of those who were killed were not immediately released.
Police had said that seven people were killed, including the gunman, but they revised the death toll to five at a news conference late on Friday. Police said there initially were conflicting descriptions of some victims and they were counted twice.