Santa Monica shooting: Gunman acted alone in killing 4 before he was shot dead, investigation ongoing (updated)

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Latest news on the investigation as of Saturday, June 8

Update 8:52 p.m.: Police adjust casualty figure, say gunman acted alone

Santa Monica police say a gunman who killed four people in Santa Monica before officers shot him dead acted alone, and investigators have released a man who had been detained as a "person of interest."

Sgt. Richard Lewis said at a news conference Friday night that the man was questioned and released, and he is not a suspect.

The violence began when the gunman, dressed in all black and wearing what appeared to be a ballistic jacket, opened fire on a house where two bodies were found near the intersection of Yorkshire and Kansas avenues in Santa Monica.

Another person was killed in a Ford Explorer near 20th & Pearl streets near Santa Monica College.

RELATED: Timeline of June 7 mass shooting in Santa Monica

With police chasing the gunman, he ran onto the Santa Monica College campus, where the last person was shot and killed outside the library.

Police then shot the gunman dead inside the library.

Neitiher the victims nor the gunman have been identified by authorities.

Police said earlier that seven people were killed, including the gunman. But they corrected that to a total of five people late Friday.

Update 4:41 p.m.: Police increase number of casualties, offer more details

Police said that at least six people are dead in a shooting rampage that began at a house in Santa Monica, where two people were found dead, and ended with a shootout in the library of Santa Monica College, where police shot and killed a gunman dressed in black clothing and a ballistic vest.

Six people were sent to hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica. One patient who underwent surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is now in intensive care, where she is listed in critical condition, according to a UCLA news release. Another patient initially listed in serious condition is now listed in fair condition. A third patient at that location has died. All three victims who were sent to UCLA Medical Center's Santa Monica campus have been treated and released.

Santa Monica police chief Jacqueline Seabrooks and Santa Monica College police chief Albert Vasquez — speaking at a Friday afternoon press conference — said that the shooting was not a school shooting, but rather a shooting that began off campus and spilled over onto the campus.

The gunman, who was not identified, was described as a white male, 25 to 30 years old, clad all in black clothing and what appeared to be a ballistic vest.

A second suspect was in custody. It was not clear what connection the suspect had to the suspected gunman, but Seabrooks said police are not convinced 100 percent that the deceased suspect was operating alone.

The incident began at 11:52 a.m. Friday, when the Santa Monica Fire Department responded to a call about a house fire at 2036 Yorkshire Ave., where they heard reports of gunfire, Santa Monica Fired Chief Scott Ferguson said.

Police discovered two dead people inside the house.

Santa Monica police responded and also received information about a carjacking related to the fire and shots-fired call. Other calls came in about random rifle fire, which culminated with a series of shootings at the corners of 20th Street and Pico Boulevard, at Cloverfield and Pico boulevards and at 20th and Pearl streets, Seabrooks said. The gunman was reportedly shooting at vehicles.

Police exchanged gunfire, and the gunman fled onto the campus of Santa Monica College, where he ran through the liberal arts building, Santa Monica College police chief Albert Vasquez said.

The gunman then fled to the library, where he is believed to have shot at a woman on campus on the way into the library, accosted people in the library and attempted to shoot at them. 

Both city and college police officers exchanged gunfire with the gunman inside the library, Vasquez said, where he was fatally wounded.

Seabrooks said the gunman is believed to have killed two people in the house, which caught fire, two more people as he moved several blocks toward the campus, and then two more on campus.

  • In the house on Yorkshire: 2 dead
  • In the 1900 block of Pico: 1 fatality, 2 hit
  • At 20th and Pearl: 1 killed in car; 1 killed on sidewalk
  • At UCLA Medical Center: 1 died 
  • At parking lot 1 at Santa Monica College: Santa Monica college police exchange fire w suspect, he gets away
  • On the campus of Santa Monica College: 1 person shot on campus
  • In the library of Santa Monica College: Campus police and Santa Monica police exchange fire with the suspect. He dies in the library; they move his body to sidewalk

Seabrooks said that the people the gunman allegedly shot on the street appeared to be random victims, but that the victims in the Yorkshire house did not appear to be random.

Police are still investigating.

Meanwhile, KPCC visual journalist Mae Ryan reported that police were actively investigating an apartment complex near the intersection of Centinela and Palms in Mar Vista. An officer said there's "someone they want to talk to."

Separately, Santa Monica school district officials reported that all lockdowns had been lifted on local schools.

Hospital officials are encouraging people with type-O negative, type-O positive and type-AB blood to donate. Anyone interested can call 310-825-0888, ext. 2 to make an appointment at the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center.

Update 3:20 p.m.: UCLA medical officials confirm one woman died

Officials at UCLA Medical Center confirmed that one woman has died after being brought to the the hospital following a shooting at Santa Monica College Friday, one of six people who sustained injuries in the incident.

Three women were taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood; two arrived in critical condition and one has since died. The second woman remained in surgery as of Friday afternoon. [Update: The third was upgraded to fair condition as of 4:14 p.m. from serious condition.]

Three other female victims were taken to UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, and are listed in good condition, according to a press release.

As of 3:20 p.m., KPCC had these facts:

  • The first call came in at 11:55 a.m.
  • Six people were known to be injured, including one who died.
  • Two other men were found dead in a burning house at Yorkshire and Kansas avenues, just northeast of the SMC campus. It's unclear whether this is related to the shootings.
  • A man was observed at a street corner shooting at vehicles and buses. Shots were reported at the corner of Cloverfield and Pico and at Santa Monica College.
  • The Big Blue Bus confirmed that two people were injured on one of their buses — one grazed by a bullet and one by broken glass. Bus service is still going.
  • Police were seeking a possible second suspect.

Marshall Morgan, director of UCLA Emergency Medicine Center, told reporters at a Friday afternoon press conference that the woman in surgery had head injuries

The three women at the UCLA Santa Monica hospital all had relatively minor injuries and all are doing well, Morgan added.

UCLA called on people to donate blood at the beginning of next week to help replenish its supply. 

Previously: At least four people have been shot in and near Santa Monica College 

Shots were fired at Santa Monica College Friday, and four victims were shot, a UCLA Medical Center spokeswoman confirmed to KPCC. 

Santa Monica police say a man believed to be a suspect was shot and transported to the hospital, NBC L.A. reported. Police are looking for a second possible suspect following reports of additional shootings, California Highway Patrol officer Ming-Yang Hsu told KPCC.

Three of the shooting victims were being treated at UCLA Medical Center, while one was being treated at the UCLA Center in Santa Monica, according to UCLA Medical Center spokeswoman Dale Tate.

Meanwhile, investigators were pushing spectators back several blocks from a burned house near the college in which two men were found dead as the bomb squad checked a vehicle on the property that may have explosives in the trunk.

President Barack Obama was in Santa Monica Friday speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee several blocks north of the campus. Obama's motorcade was redirected from Santa Monica Airport to Los Angeles International Airport following the shooting.

"The president was giving his remarks on the back lawn to about 100 people, we heard a spray of ambulance and police sirens that may have been connected about midway through," Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times told KPCC's AirTalk.

Two people were found dead in a burned home near the college, according to the Associated Press. Jeff Furrows of the Santa Monica Fire Department told the AP that there was extensive fire damage inside the nearby home. A woman also was found with a gunshot wound in a car outside the burned home, he said.

Lourdes Arocho at the FBI's press office confirmed that the FBI has responded and is in the area, to offer support to the Santa Monica Police Department, which is the lead agency. 

As of 2 p.m., KPCC had these facts:

  • The first call came in at 11:55 a.m.
  • Four people were known to be injured.
  • A man was observed at a street corner shooting at vehicles and buses. Shots were reported at the corner of Cloverfield and Pico and at Santa Monica College.
  • Police were seeking a possible second suspect.

Jerry Cunningham, a woman who lives across the street from the burned house, told KPCC she heard shots and went outside.

"There was a guy in the street and he was coming," Cunningham said. "He was at the gate of the house across the street, and there was a lot of smoke around, and then I noticed that the house was on fire."

She said she couldn't tell if the man was coming out of the house or shooting into the house.

"There were two cars stopped at this intersection, and he put the gun to the first car, which was the blue Mazda, and told her to pull over, and she did," Cunningham said. He waved down a second car and fired three shots into the car at point blank range, Cunningham said.

She went to call 911, and when she returned, he got into the blue Mazda and drove off. Cunningham then attended to the woman in the remaining car, who had been shot.

A short man who told reporters his name was Michael Lim was taken away by police in handcuffs from near the campus library. He told reporters that it was because he found guns, and that he was on campus meeting his ex-girlfriend. 

The college has been put on lockdown, and students not on campus have been advised to stay away. Posting on its Facebook page, SMC said:

Students: All afternoon/evening finals on the MAIN campus scheduled for today, Friday, 6/7 have been canceled. Please do NOT come to the main campus.

Academic Affairs or your instructor will be in touch regarding rescheduling your final.

A Big Blue Bus spokeswoman told KPCC a bus was shot at at Pico and Cloverfield, and that one passenger was grazed.

An eyewitness named Evelyn, who refused to give her last name, told KPCC that she witnessed a husky male shooting around noon.. The man was wearing what appeared to be body armor and carrying a long black gun, Evelyn said. He fired at least five shots, according to the witness.

"When I was at the stop sign, I looked him dead in his face, and then it was a green car that was coming, and then another car," Evelyn said. "He just let loose and just started shooting, so I took off. And then he came down the street shooting."

Evelyn said she saw the gunman shoot at a car and that the car's windows were all shot out.

"There was  a green car. There were two women that pulled up, and he pointed the gun at them, and told them 'wait!' And I don't know, because I took off, I don't know if he got in that car. I don't know."

"I was on Pico going east in my car, I was stopped at the intersection," eyewitness Carolyn Tchopik told KPCC's AirTalk. "A man in a car opposite on the other side going west got out of his car and started shooting at a set of office buildings to his right, staying along the building. Then he started shooting up toward the sky and at that point I thought it'd be best to lay down in my front seat."

"[Police] had us crawl on the ground," witness Audra Bell told KPCC. "And then once I was crawling down the stairs from the second floor to the first floor, there was a body on my right hand side, and the glass of the library doors was all broken and it looked like it had been shot, and then there was blood everywhere. And there was a stream of blood that went from the entrance of the library down the steps. And then there was a body on my right-hand side on the way out as well, after I got out of the library."

"I saw one person down, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, shattered glass, blood all down the stairs in the front of Santa Monica College library," said Santa Monica College sophomore Brett Holzhauer. It was his last day at the school, where he was studying for a final.

A red SUV in a nearby parking lot's airbag was deployed with blood on it, with all of the vehicle's windows shot out, KPCC's Grant Slater reported.

A spokesperson in the superintendent's office of the Santa Monica school district told KPCC that several schools remained on lockdown as of about 2:30 p.m. Friday. Franklin, McKinley and Roosevelt elementary schools and district offices were no longer on lockdown and proceeded with normal dismissal.

All of the schools in the southern part of the city are still on lockdown.

Some of the pre-schoolers from John Adams (right across from SMC) had been evacuated to the district offices. 

All other schools in the area are on lockdown, along with district offices. Here's the list of the schools locked down:

  • Edison Elementary 
  • Grant Elementary
  • John Muir Elementary
  • Will Rogers Elementary 
  • SMASH Alternative School
  • John Adams Middle School
  • Lincoln Middle School
  • Olympic High School
  • Santa Monica High School

This story has been updated.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Carolyn Tchopik's name.

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