Santa Monica Shootings: 5 Dead Including Suspected Shooter [UPDATED]
(Eds. note: we will continue updating this post as we get more information. Our updates are below our original story.)
At least two people were wounded today during a shooting near Santa Monica College, law enforcement sources told the LA Times. Early reports had three victims, but networks, including NBC, are now reporting that the third victim might be the shooter.
The suspect was found in the school's library and taken into custody. The extent of the injuries were not immediately known. The community college is on lockdown, officials tell the Times.
Police sources told the newspaper the victims were shot inside a car either on the campus or near the campus. Fox 11 had unconfirmed reports of a nearby fire. Witnesses told the network that the suspect was wearing full body armor.
Witnesses reported a "fully armed" subject discharging a firearm at vehicles in the area, according to the California Highway Patrol. The gunman opened fire on cars and a bus, CHP Sgt. Denise Joslin told NBC. "We are aware of at least one suspect, there may possibly be others," Joslin said
A worker on campus told City News Service that the sound of dozens of gunshots could be heard, with students scrambling for safety. Students are taking final exams on the campus this week. Students are advised to stay away from the campus and those already on campus are advised to stay in place.
All other schools in the area are on lockdown, including Roosevelt Elementary and John Adams Elementary schools.
Police were already on scene because of the nearby fundraiser for President Barack Obama, which is happening just a few blocks north of the campus. Because of the no-fly zone for the President's visit, news helicopters have not been out covering the scene.
UPDATE 6:50 p.m.: Police tell the Los Angeles Times that the gunman's brother and father were his first victims.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: A map that shows the shootings that we have information about so far:
UPDATE 5 p.m.: Photos of the body of a man believed to be the suspected shooter have been circulating. Here's a photo from earlier this afternoon:
Here's a Vine from the scene of the burning house and car-shooting:
UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: Santa Monica Police held a press conference today to share what they know about the shooting so far. Police say that the shootings began off-campus and only one woman was shot on campus. Santa Monica police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks confirmed that the suspect in the shootings was killed in a shootout with police. There may be "as many as 6 dead" Seabrooks said, not including the shooter.
She told reporters, "There was an exchange of gunfire and the suspect attempted to evade the officers by running onto the college campus. As he ran onto campus, additional shots were exchanged. The suspect headed toward the library and shot a woman on campus just before entering the library. He accosted a number of patrons inside the library and attempted to shoot at them. Those individuals were able to find a safe location, however, he continued to shoot at them. The officers engaged the suspect and he was shot and killed on the scene." She added, "The suspect has yet to be identified, but he's described as being a male, white, 25-30 years of age. He was wearing all black clothing and what appears to be a ballistic vest."
Seabrooks noted that another "subject of interest" is in custody but police are still trying to connect him to "evidence found on the scene." They are not "100 percent convinced" that the dead shooter was operating alone. An official from Santa Monica College announced that the college has been cleared of all additional suspects.
As for the possibly related fire at 2036 Yorkshire, Scott Ferguson, Santa Monica Fire Department Fire Chief said, "At 11:52 this morning, we responded to a report of a structure fire." Ferguson notes that they quickly extinguished the fire and found "multiple fatalities" inside. He said that three of those injured in the shootings were sent to Santa Monica Hospital.
UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: There are six female patients wounded in the shooting that were transported to the hospital, UCLA told CNS. One has died, another was in critical condition and one is in serious condition. Three others are listed in good condition.
Officials haven't confirmed that the house fire, shootings and car-jackings that went on in Santa Monica today are connected. But the Los Angeles Times has created a helpful map that gives you a sense of the geography of the incidents:
UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: One woman who was transported to UCLA Medical Center has died, officials told the Los Angeles Times.
UPDATE 2:45 p.m: The Associated Press is reporting that the bodies of two men were discovered at a burned home near the Santa Monica College campus.
The AP also has this description of the man arrested at the scene in connection with the shooting: "A man dressed entirely in black, with the words 'Life is a Gamble' on the back of his sweatshirt, was seen being taken into custody by law enforcement officers."
A neighbor near the burned-out home Jerry Cunningham Rathner told the AP she heard gunshots before noon and saw a man shooting at the home before it erupted into flames. She said the gunman was dressed in black, wearing an ammo belt and had a military-style rifle. He told a woman in a passing car to slow down and then opened fire on her.
There is some more information being released about the victims. Three were women transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA told CNS. The fourth victim—also a woman—was transported to UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica and was listed in good condition.
UPDATE 2 p.m.: Police told CNS that they are investigating a link between the shootings at Santa Monica College and a fire in a nearby home at Stewart Street and Kansas Avenue, just north of Pico Boulevard and east of the campus.
A witness told KCAL9 he heard "a few gunshots'' at the home before the fire broke out.
UPDATE, 1:55 P.M.:L.A. Times reporter Andrew Blankenstein tweeted that a nearby house fire might be related to the shooting:
Breaking: 1 suspect in 2 possible home invasions w/ fire set. 2 car jacks, includ. 1 near SM College Lib. Shooting left 3 wounded in spree.— Andrew Blankstein (@anblanx) June 7, 2013
And this Vine video was taken of the fire and a bullet-riddled car:
The wounded have been taken to UCLA Medical Center, where a spokeswoman told CNN that two of the victims were in critical condition and one was in serious condition.
UPDATE, 1:33 P.M.: One student tweeted out an image of fellow students on lockdown:
LAist editors Lauren Lloyd and Emma Gallegos contributed to this post.