Santa Monica College reopened Monday with a candlelight vigil scheduled in front of the campus library where 23-year-old John Zawahri was shot to death by police Friday evening.
Authorities said that the killing spree began when Zawahri killed his father, Samir, 55, and brother, Christopher, 24, in a home near campus and then set the home on fire. Zawahri, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, shot at a driver, wounding her, then took another driver hostage, forcing her to drive him to Santa Monica College. Along the way, he opened fire at people on a public bus and on the college campus during a mile-long shooting rampage.
Police said the gunman was heavily armed and was carrying a duffel bag with 1,300 rounds of ammo. Zawahri also had .223 caliber magazines, a six-shot. 44 caliber revolver, knee pads, and was wearing all black with a load-bearing vest. The former Santa Monica College student gunned down five victims in 15 minutes, according to police –two of his family members, 26-year-old student Marcela Franco, her father who was a long-time college employee, 68-year-old Carlos Franco, and Margarita Gomez.
msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell said Monday evening that the nation’s top gun lobby has allowed mass shooters like Zawahri access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“Thanks to the National Rifle Association, that’s all you can do in this country when you have an angry emotionally unstable neighbor who is fascinated with guns, all you can do is worry. Because the NRA has made sure that your angry unstable neighbor will have no trouble getting his hands on the most murderous weapons that exist, and unlimited amounts of ammunition. And the NRA has made sure that the day your angry unstable heavily armed neighbor is overwhelmed by homicidal urges, the question is not - will he kill anyone? The question is: How many people will he kill?”