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Questions Remain After Shooting In Santa Monica


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. We're going to get the latest now on that horrifying scene that unfolded yesterday morning in Santa Monica, California. A gunman killed four people in a house, on the streets and at Santa Monica College before authorities shot him in the college's library.

Authorities have identified one of the victims - 68-year-old Carlos Navarro Franco, of West Los Angeles. We're joined now by NPR's Sam Sanders, who was in Santa Monica reporting the story yesterday. Sam, thanks for being with us.


SIMON: And what can we say solidly now what we know about yesterday's killings?

SANDERS: Well, it began with the call about shots fired in a neighborhood in Santa Monica, which is part of the L.A. metro area on the Pacific Coast. At the scene, authorities found a house on fire and eventually two bodies inside, the first two victims, who authorities say they believe were relatives of the now deceased suspect.

According to Santa Monica police, the shooter left the house, carjacked a woman and proceeded to shoot as he forced her to drive through the area. There were shots first at three locations, all pretty close together. The gunman shot at cars and a bus where three people were hit. Finally, he fled onto the campus of Santa Monica College where he shot a woman there, then entered the library where authorities shot him. He died later after being taken outside.

SIMON: And another man was taken into custody yesterday and later released, so authorities seem to be thinking that this man acted alone?

SANDERS: Yes, another man was in custody yesterday. He was questioned and released. Authorities said he has a valid reason to be on campus, so this appears to the act of one man alone. The suspect hasn't been identified yet, but yesterday, the chief of police said he was a white male, 25 to 30 years old, and he had an assault style weapon on him.

SIMON: Sam, what did eyewitnesses tell you?

SANDERS: I spoke to a number of witnesses throughout the multiple crime scenes. Some described him as calm, walking not running. One told me about hearing gunfire, then hiding out in the library for more than half an hour until he felt it was safe to come out. This was one of the last days of the semester at Santa Monica College. Students were studying for and taking finals, but authorities have been careful to say that this was not a school shooting. It's a shooting that had a very tragic ending on a college campus.

SIMON: Sam, what do we know about the victims, people who were killed and wounded, including do we know we there any apparent links to the alleged gunman?

SANDERS: At this point, none of the victims have been IDed by authorities. As we said, there are four dead, another person as of last night was in critical condition at a local hospital. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the first two victims are related to the shooter. We will no doubt start to learn more about who these victims were as the investigation goes on.

SIMON: When you say related, do you mean family members or...

SANDERS: It's believed that one of the first two victims was the shooter's father and another was his brother. Of course, authorities have not confirmed that yet. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that as of this morning.

SIMON: Do we know who shot the alleged gunman? Was it police, campus security?

SANDERS: It's authorities. Multiple police officers from Santa Monica Police and campus police engaged the shooter at the library, so one of them shot this man and they took him outside of the library, where he died.

SIMON: Okay. NPR's Sam Sanders speaking with us from Southern California. Sam, thanks very much for being with us.

SANDERS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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