Santa Monica Gunman Was Strange, Fascinated with Guns


 The Santa Monica gunman who went on a killing spree, killing four people and left some badly injured, appeared as very “odd and strange” to his neighbors. The shooter,  who would have turned 24 the next day, did not seem normal or the socializing type. His neighbors, who frequently observed him, said there was ‘nothing normal’. According to his friends, he was fascinated with guns or arms.

The gunman, dressed all in black, carrying an assault rifle, walked onto the Santa Monica College campus Friday after killing his father and brother at their home, and then taking the lives of two other people, authorities said.

Neighbors saw the gunman firing shots at a vehicle outside the home, witnesses said. Evidence shows he carjacked a young lady and forced her to drive; he made her drive towards the college campus. And in such short time he kept on firing indiscriminately at buildings, private cars, vehicles or even police van before beginning rampage at Santa Monica college. After he began his wave of violence, we can understand how vehement he became at that time and after taking heavy toll at home, and started to shoot others.

“It was really scary. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” said Reid Rosson, who witnessed the incident.

Others who lived near the gunman’s father said the suspected shooter must has some disturbances. He suffered bitter divorce of his parents and had a history of mental abnormality. So, if he’d received proper treatment such incident could be avoided. May be such struggles made him ‘strange’, ‘fascinated with guns’.

The incident began shortly before noon as officials responded to reports of a house fire near the intersection of Kansas and Yorkshire avenues. Some of his friends identified him as “John Zawahri”, but officials are yet to reveal his actual identity.

The bodies of two men, believed to be the brother and father of the suspected gunman, were found inside the home, according to fire officials. But the officials are yet to release any of the names. They still need to understand his connection with the college, if he was a student here or not. One thing for sure, he is ‘criminal and victim’ both, like any other gun related incident. One needs to be ‘strange’ to kill innocent people, with whom his wrath had no connections. That’s why his neighbors assessment of him may have credence.

One of his friends, not willing to be identified said, ‘He was fascinated with guns; we were worried about it’. He still wonders how 24 something ‘John’ got the money to buy multiple weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Seemingly his friend circle was not supportive enough to shun him from guns or they were just baffled to do so. He continued his cultivation with guns and reports said, “He was carrying the assault rifle, probably AR-15, other weapons, including at least one handgun”. So, he had a fascination, a compulsion for guns.


Written by: Jayeeta Shamsul