SANTA MONICA ( — Southland lawmakers and other public officials Monday took part in a forum on gun violence in response to last month’s shootings at Santa Monica College.

KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) hosted the “Gun Violence, Mental Health and Community Recovery: Responses to the June 7, 2013, Santa Monica Shootings” forum at Santa Monica’s City Hall.

The forum was intended to assess the role of mental health of 23-year-old John Zawahri, who killed five people — including his father and brother — and injured several more during the shooting rampage that lasted approximately 13 minutes.

Other participants in attendance included Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and Torrance State Senator Ted Lieu, who said the death toll from the rampage could have been much higher.

“The library staff at Santa Monica College had active shooter training just a few weeks before the incident, and that really, I believe, helped prevent future deaths,” Lieu said.

Lieu is sponsoring California Senate Bill 49 (PDF), which requires active shooter training and school safety plans in schools K-12 statewide.

Waxman, the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — which has previously explored the issues of violence and mental health following the Newtown, Conn., shooting — noted that former teachers said Zawahri had a history of mental illness.

The panel also heard testimony from witnesses including Pamela Hyde, J.D., Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Santa Monica Chief of Police Jacqueline A. Seabrooks.

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