Santa Monica College To Celebrate Graduation, Remember Shooting Victims In Dual Ceremony
SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Tuesday night’s commencement ceremony for Santa Monica College’s graduates at Corsair Field will be the first time Carlos Franco will not be working in 20 years.
Instead, Franco, 68, his daughter, student Marcela Dia Franco, and Margarita Gomez of Santa Monica, will be remembered with a moment of silence prior to the commencement ceremony.
“It’s tense. It’s close, but I think this will end the whole semester in a good way. Even though the sad thing that happened and we’re trying to celebrate our success,” graduate Lottie Aagren said.
All three were killed Friday when 23-year-old John Zawahri allegedly opened fire on campus after he killed his 24-year-old brother, Christopher Zawahri, and 55-year-old father Samir at their family home nearby.
Zawahri, armed with a hand gun and assault rifle, reportedly shot Gomez, 68, before entering the SMC library where he was ultimately gunned down by police.
Police said Monday they have determined a motive behind Friday’s rampage, but were not releasing it to the public. The Los Angeles Times reported that Zawahri had large amounts of ammunition strapped to his body when he was killed.
Officials did confirm, however, that Zawahri was at student at SMC in 2010 and had a history of mental health issues.
“I am in mourning for my family and for those who were also affected by this horrible tragedy over the past few days,” Randa Abdou, the suspect’s mother, said. “I cannot express my great sadness for the families who are also suffering at this terrible time. I ask the media please give me time to breathe and to come to grips with the overwhelming sorrow that has befallen all of us. Thank you.”
A vigil was held Monday evening in front of the SMC library.