SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Police Friday revised the number of fatalities following a deadly shooting rampage in Santa Monica to five people, including the suspected gunman.
Police were first called to the 2000 block of Yorkshire Avenue just after 11:52 a.m. following a report of a shooting and fire at a home.
Upon arriving on scene, authorities located two men dead inside the home, KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports. A third person, identified as a woman, was shot just outside that home.
Santa Monica police Sgt. Richard Lewis said there was a possibility the victims in the Yorkshire Avenue home were related to the alleged gunman.
“Until we confirm identifications … we are not going to elaborate any further,” Lewis said. “This is a rather large crime scene. It spanning just about a mile in diameter if that’s how you want to place it and we have approximately nine crime scenes working right now.”
The sergeant explained that from that home, the suspected gunman then allegedly carjacked a female on Yorkshire Avenue and had her start driving.
“At Cloverfield and Pico, he shot at a big Blue Bus. On that bus, we had three injured. All minor and all walked into the hospital themselves,” the sergeant said. “The vehicle then traveled onto 20th and Pearl in the 1900 block of Pearl in what they call Lot 1 of the Santa Monica College campus. He encountered a red Ford Explorer and shot at the two occupants in there. Unfortunately, the driver of that vehicle expired here at the scene.”
Sgt. Lewis said the passenger in that Ford Explorer is at a hospital in critical condition.
From there, investigators believe the suspect went to the Santa Monica College campus located at 1900 Pico Boulevard. Police believe the gunman first shot someone in front of the library and then went inside. That individual was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead sometime later.
Once inside the library, witnesses said the suspect allegedly started shooting indiscriminately at students, many of which were studying for finals. Dozens of students began fleeing the multistory building.
“It looked like some kind of padded vest. Bullet proof vest. Armor something and an assault rifle. And when I looked at him, he looked at me and he then just panned over with his gun and I jumped out of the way and he shot at me,” one witness recalled.
“As I was running down the stairs I saw one of the gunmen,” Jimes Gillespie, another witness, told the Associated Press.
He described the shooter to the AP as a white man in his 20s, wearing cornrows in his hair and black overalls. He said the man was carrying a shotgun.
Gillespie believes there were two shooters because he heard two kinds of gunfire — a shotgun and a handgun — but only saw one person, according to the Associated Press.
A short time later, police believe the suspected gunman was shot and killed by a responding officer.
“[The suspect] went into the library. Engaged officers in a firefight. He was fatally wounded or he was shot, taken out of the library, and he expired here on the sidewalk.” Sgt. Lewis said.
KNX 1070’s Vytas Safronickas reports that one person of interest was questioned by authorities. That person, however, was subsequently released. Police late Friday said they believe the suspect acted alone.
Of the injured, Dr. Marshall Morgan of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said three victims were transported to that facility. He said one of those patients died. A second victim was said to be in critical condition after having undergone surgery. A third victim was also listed in critical condition.
Three other victims were taken to UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica where all were said to be listed in “good condition.”
School officials reported that final exams at the 38-acre campus had been canceled for the day and would be rescheduled. Grief counselors were expected to be available to students and faculty from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through the weekend on the Bundy campus.
Lockdowns ordered for all schools in the surrounding area following the shooting have since been lifted. A motive for the rampage remained under investigation.
President Barack Obama was in Santa Monica earlier in the day speaking at a luncheon fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee about a 10-minute drive from where the shooting took place.
Obama departed from LAX just after 2:40 p.m. to travel to Rancho Mirage, where he met with President Xi Jinping of China.