Santa Monica Shooter Left A Farewell Note
Before he went on a deadly shooting spree, the Santa Monica gunman left behind a farewell note expressing remorse for killing his father and brother.Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said at a news conference yesterday that a three- to four-page handwritten note was found on John Zawahri's body after he was shot and killed June 7 by officers on the campus of Santa Monica College, according to the Associated Press.
In the note, the 23-year-old also said goodbye to friends and wrote that he hoped his mother would be taken care of by his father's estate. He did not explain or apologize for his subsequent rampage that took the lives of three strangers.
"We know his was a troubled life and that he experienced mental health challenges," Seabrooks told reporters. "We believe that his mental health challenges likely played a role in his decisions to shoot and kill both his father and his brother, to set fire to the family home, and to go on a 13-minute shooting spree spanning roughly 1.5 miles and which left five innocent people dead and three people injured."
Zawahri apparently built his own .223-caliber assault rifle and used it to kill his and father and brother. He then set their house on fire and began his now infamous killing spree.
His mother was visiting family in Lebanon during Friday's rampage but cut short her trip and returned home Sunday, AP reports. She has since been interviewed by detectives.
Police still did not know what Zawahri's connection to Santa Monica College was, or why he directed the woman he carjacked to take him there. He was killed on campus by police after a shootout.
While Zawahri went out on his rampage heavily armed, investigators found even more weapons in his bedroom. Police recovered illegal zip guns, four replica airsoft pellet guns, and knives and gun magazines, said Sgt. Richard Lewis. Investigators also found materials that indicate he likely assembled the weapon he used in his rampage.
Police said Zawahri dodged a background check by buying a lower receiver—the part of the gun that holds the trigger and magazine—that was only 80 percent complete.
They are still investigating how he acquired magazines that were capable of holding 30 rounds each. That kind of high-capacity magazine is illegal to purchase, sell or transfer in California, however possession is not illegal according to AP.
He likely began building his own guns because he was turned down when he attempted to buy a gun in 2011, officials said Thursday. That was probably due to a 2006 incident in which he threatened fellow high school students, faculty and campus police officers at Olympic High School, where students with academic or disciplinary issues are often sent.
When officials searched his house in 2006, they found bomb-making materials. According to a school board member, he learned to make explosives by watching videos on YouTube.
He was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation at the time, which meant he was automatically banned from accessing or possessing firearms for five years. That ban would have expired in 2011; that same year Zawahri attempted to buy a gun.
Possible reasons for Zawahri's rampage include his lingering anger over his parents' 1993 divorce and his father's alleged history of abuse.
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