Police seek motive in SMC shooting

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A police officer guards the body of the alleged gunman at the Pearl Street entrance to Santa Monica College

The body of the alleged gunman at the Pearl Street entrance to Santa Monica College (KCRW)

While many details have surfaced about the shooting rampage that terrorized several blocks of Santa Monica on Friday, detectives continue to struggle with the big unanswered question: Why?

Police officials have repeatedly stressed that they do not consider the violence that ended inside the Santa Monica College Library a “school shooting.” The Santa Monica Police Department had scheduled a press conference for noon today.

UPDATE: A police press briefing has been delayed but will be carried live on KCRW 89.9 as it happens.

Santa Monica College campus remains off limits, secured by several law enforcement agencies. As reported here yesterday, the campus including the station of KCRW was evacuated by SWAT officers.

Police officer escorts KCRW staff during Friday's lockdown.
Police officer escorts KCRW staff during Friday’s lockdown.

As investigators continue to seek for a motive, here’s what is known. The rampage left five dead, including the alleged gunman. Five others are wounded, with two in critical condition. Police have identified one of the victims as Carlos Navarro Franco, 68.

The rolling attacks began shortly before noon on Friday with a shooting and house fire near Yorkshire and Kansas avenues.  Fire crews found two victims inside, according to Santa Monica Fire Department Chief Scott Ferguson. The two are believed to be the father and brother of the unidentified suspect, law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times.

The gunman, armed with what officials described as an AR-15 and clad in all black, then carjacked a woman. The suspect ordered her to drive to Santa Monica College, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

At the intersection of Cloverfield and Pico boulevards, the suspect fired on several vehicles. Close to campus at 19th and Pearl streets, he shot up a red SUV. Franco was the driver of the car. The suspect then rushed onto campus, shooting a female in front of the library, and ran inside where he continued shooting. Police shot the suspect inside the library and transported him outside, where he died on a sidewalk, police said Friday.

Photos by KCRW staff

Officers on the scene to clear campus buildings
Police blockade during the SMC lockdown
An officer guards shoes and gear of the suspected shooter
The body of the alleged gunman killed by police