At a press conference in Santa Monica, Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said "1,300 rounds could have been fired" had police not intervened and 'neutralized' the gunman.
The man accused of gunning down four people and injuring five others on Friday during a shooting rampage in Santa Monica, Calif., had as much as 1,300 rounds of ammunition on him and planned the attack that only ended when he was shot and killed by responders, the city’s police chief said Saturday.
Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said the shooter carried a semi-automatic rifle and a duffle bag stuffed with ammunition magazines as he cut a violent path through a mile-long stretch of the coastal city.
“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,” Seabrooks said.
The police chief said law enforcement officials had unspecified “contact” with the man seven years ago, but Seabrooks did not comment on the 2006 incident because he was a juvenile at the time.
Police are working to confirm the gunman’s relationship with the two people found dead in a burning house blocks away from the Santa Monica College campus where the shooting spree came to a bloody climax.
Seabrooks did not identify the suspect but described him as a “cowardly murderer.” He was due to turn 24 on Saturday, she said.
County officials earlier Saturday identified one of the four people killed during the bloodshed Friday. Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, was fatally struck by a bullet behind the wheel of his SUV, which spun out of control and careened into a wall, according to Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office investigator Joyce Kato.
In a statement, Santa Monica Community College President Chui Tsang described Franco, a groundskeeper at the college, as a dedicated worker for 22 years who would be sorely missed.
“He tried to make people happy and make sure he did the best job he could," Franco's supervisor, Tom Corpus said. "He was just a great asset to the college. Everything Carlos did was for the college and for his family.”
Franco's youngest daughter, Marcela, 26, who was a student at CSU Dominguez Hills, was also one of the victims of Friday's shootings, the statement said. She was in critical condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and not expected to survive.
Authorities had pieced together a chronology of events by Saturday that draws a westward line from the burning home nestled near the Santa Monica Freeway to the beachside campus of Santa Monica College.
Tami Abdollah / AP
Weapons and other evidence recovered from the gunman in Friday's deadly shooting rampage that left four people dead, in Santa Monica, Calif are displayed Saturday June 8, 2013, in Santa Monica.
Police said the carnage began around 11:52 a.m. on Friday, when officials responded to reports of gunfire and a growing blaze at a private residence fewer than 20 blocks away from the campus. Responding officers found two people believed to have been fatally shot by the gunman inside the flame-engulfed home, Seabrooks said. Officials are still working to identify the cause of the blaze, Santa Monica Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said.
Shortly before noon, the gunman is reported to have fled on foot, firing randomly at passing vehicles, wounding one woman. He then carjacked a vehicle being driven by an adult woman and threatened to murder her if she didn’t drive him to the nearby college campus, Seabrooks said.
The gunman demanded the woman stop at various points along the mile-long ride to the campus so he could fire erratically at passing cars, police said. He sprayed bullets at a public bus, shattering glass and injuring three people, and then fired at Franco in his SUV, killing him and seriously wounding his daughter, police said.
With police officers in pursuit, the gunman abandoned the shaken motorist and darted toward the library, shooting indiscriminately. One bullet struck and killed an adult woman in her 50s outside the library building, police said.
Santa Monica police department hold a press conference after a series of shootings near a community college.
Amid the hail of gunfire, students scattered and took shelter in a provisional safe room, barricading the door with any available objects to keep the gunman away. Officers arrived at the library shortly after noon and exchanging a volley of bullets with the suspect before wounding him. The injured suspect was then taken outside, where he was pronounced dead around 12:05 p.m.
Seabrooks said five people were hurt in the shooting – the woman driving by the carjacking, the three people on the bus, and Franco's daughter.
The gunman was described by authorities as a male Caucasian between the ages of 25 and 30. He was dressed head to toe in black and sported what authorities said appeared to be a bullet-proof vest.
Friday’s violence unfolded as President Barack Obama prepared to attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private home at 2 p.m. local time.
Richard Esposito, M. Alex Johnson and Niven McCall-Mazza of NBC News contributed to this report.
Joe Klamar / AFP - Getty Images
Santa Monica police search the grounds of Santa Monica College after multiple shootings were reported on the campus in Santa Monica, California.
This story was originally published on Sun Jun 9, 2013 1:37 AM EDT