John Zawahri – the gunman accused of going on a shooting spree in Santa Monica Friday that left four people dead, among them his father and brother – was upset over his parents’ recent divorce and had a history of mental illness, it was revealed today.
Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said Saturday that the alleged shooter, identified as John Zawahri by multiple law enforcement sources, planned the attack and was capable of firing 1,300 rounds of ammunition.
“Any time someone puts on a vest, of some sort, comes out with a bag full of loaded magazines, has an extra receiver, has a handgun and has a semi-automatic rifle, carjacks folks, goes to a college, kills more people and has to be neutralized at the hands of the police, I would say that that’s premeditated,” she told reporters at a press conference.
John Zawahri would have turned 24 on Saturday.
Police had an encounter with him seven years ago, but they wouldn’t elaborate because he was a juvenile at the time.
A law enforcement source has revealed to the Los Angeles Times that John Zawahri had suffered from mental problems in his youth.
As they work to untangle the circumstances surrounding the deadly rampage, police are trying to determine why the suspect wanted to be driven to Santa Monica College, where he was ultimately shot dead by police.
Laura Sisk, 41, who was carjacked by John Zawahri, told the Los Angeles Times that the man specifically asked her to be taken to the college and then let out. At this point in the investigation, authorities do not believe that the education institution was the target in the attack.
However, Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said the gunman was enrolled in the college, possibly along with a family member, as recently as 2010.
At a police press conference this afternoon, investigators put on display weapons and ammo recovered from Santa Monica College where the killings ended Friday when police gunned him down in the library, where students were studying for finals.
Among items presented to the press were surveillance photos of a man in black entering the library with an assault-style rifle by his side.