Farewell note found on Santa Monica mass shooting suspect

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Posted June 20, 2013 by The Argonaut in News
Santa Monica police say that the gunman who killed five people during a shooting rampage before police shot and killed him left a “farewell” letter expressing remorse for taking the lives of his father and brother.
In his three-page handwritten note John Zawahri additionally expressed hope that his mother would be looked after financially and said good-bye to friends, Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said. No motive was given for the killing rampage in the letter, which was found on Zawahri’s body, Seabrooks said.
Police say the June 7 violence began when Zawahri fatally shot his father Samir Zawahri and brother Christopher Zawahri at the father’s home, which was set afire, and wearing ballistic attire, he shot a woman in her car before carjacking another woman on the street outside the home. As he was driven down Santa Monica streets, police say Zawahri shot at vehicles, including a Big Blue Bus and an SUV driven by Carlos Franco. Franco and his 26-year-old daughter, Marcela, were killed.
Zawahri then went onto the Santa Monica College campus where he fatally shot Margarita Gomez and shot at others inside the library, where Santa Monica and SMC officers fatally shot him, police said.
Seabrooks said “our hearts continue to grieve for those who were killed or injured as a result of the actions of the lone suspect.”
The police chief noted that Zawahri had a troubled life and experienced mental health challenges that investigators believe likely played a role in his decision to go on the rampage through the city.
During their investigation police discovered that Zawahri possessed an array of realistic-looking replica firearms and several “zip” guns capable of firing live ammunition. Also found was a .223 caliber assault rifle  used in the attack and a .44 caliber “black powder” revolver that had been converted to fire .45 caliber rounds, police said. Seabrooks said Zawahri attempted to attain a firearm in 2011 but was denied by the state Department of Justice.
“He had an affinity for weapons,” Sgt. Richard Lewis told reporters.
Specifically in his letter, Zawahri expressed hope that his mother would receive financial recompense from his father’s estate, and he dedicated most of the message to talk about friends, Lewis said.
“It’s in essence a farewell note,” he said.
Seabrooks commended the actions of the three officers who confronted Zawahri in the campus library and brought the violence to an end.
“That these officers were able to take definitive action before more lives were lost is a testament to their bravery and attentiveness to the training derived from lessons learned from mass shootings that have occurred across the country and become all too familiar,” the chief said.

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