The strange events that occurred at Santa Monica College on Friday, began at a nearby house. The man who was shooting at vehicles passing by the school, allegedly killed three people before his rampage. Where it all began was close to the campus.
The shooter is in custody, and three people are still hospitalized, two of them with critical injuries.
Just blocks away firemen found two dead bodies inside a burning house. A woman was discovered in an automobile outside the home. She had a gunshot wound. Authorities are attempting to determine if the two incidents are connected.
They believe everything began with a break-in about a mile north of the college campus where the house fire occurred. At this time, the cause of the fire is unknown.
Neighbors told NBC that the gunman was related to the victims inside the residence.
Jerry Cunningham-Rathner said she heard gunshots and ran out of her home to see a man in front of the house that was on fire. The man raised his gun toward a woman driving by in a blue hatchback and told her to pull over. He also motioned for another car to stop, Cunningham-Rathner said.
“He looked official, like a SWAT team guy dressed in black with his belt full of ammo,” Cunningham-Rathner said. “He fired two to three shots point-blank into her car.
“You could smell the gunshots.”
After the armed man ran away, the neighbor attended to the injured woman.
“We tried to keep her calm until the ambulance got here,” Cunningham-Rathner said.
Witnesses said a gunman stepped off the corner of Pearl and 17th Street, and began firing at a transit bus, and other passing vehicles.
“This guy just stepped out with a big rifle,” a bus passenger told NBC4 Southern California.
The shooter had stepped out of the passenger side of a parked car. Police remain uncertain if there was a second person involved, as was indicated by some witnesses.
Student Marta Fagerstroem was studying on the bus as the shots rang out.
“Everyone threw themselves on the floor, screams,” Fagerstroem said. “The bus driver, she panicked. She couldn’t drive away. She was able to, after a while.”
She told NBC that a woman was bleeding from the head, but she was in fair condition after she was examined. The injury was believed to be from shrapnel.
At present the names of the shooter, the two found in the home, and others injured have not been released.
Investigators are busily involved in understanding why the Santa Monica shootings occurred, and where and why it all began.
The Guardian Express