UPDATE — The Santa Monica Police Department revised an earlier death toll from six victims to four during a Friday night press conference. The sole suspect was fatally shot by the police and a second man detained is no longer believed to be involved.
Two of the victims were found in a burning Santa Monica house — the first of three crime scenes. They are believed to be the brother and father of the gunman, law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times.
The rampage ended at Santa Monica College campus, which was swarmed by police Friday shortly after noon following reports of multiple gun shots fired and several victims down. Staff at KCRW were evacuated during the campus lockdown.
KCRW producers were on the scene and saw officers clearing the area around the college library and the Life Flight helicopter land to take injured victims to a nearby hospital.
Shots were reported off campus as well as inside the library. Students who were in the library at the time told KCRW they heard ten to 15 shots being fired.
Student Brett Holzhauer was studying for his botany final exam when he heard the gunfire. He grabbed his stuff and ran into a study room. Later, officers came into his study room, with guns drawn, and ordered “Put your hands up right now. We don’ t know who you are,” Holzhauer said.
Audra Bell was also studying in the library when she heard the shots. She hid under a table until a man in a nearby study room cracked the door and let her hide with him. About 20 minutes later, police came into the study room area and had the students crawl out of the building.
The campus was placed on a lockdown while Santa Monica police and college police swarmed the campus. KCRW News Director Gary Scott reported that at about 12:30 on Pearl Street between 17th and 20th streets he witnessed two police officers standing over the body of a man with dark hair wearing dark clothes and no shoes. The police were not attempting to resuscitate the man.
Businesses and at least one vehicle near Pico and Cloverfield boulevards were hit with bullets. At least one area hospital received three Santa Monica shooting victims, including two in critical condition, the Associated Press reported. The third person was in serious condition.
A witness at Pico Boulevard and Cloverfield told KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis that she saw a man dressed all in black with gloves, belt and boots, who was shooting straight ahead of him, not aiming at anyone. She said the man’s clothing made it look like he was in the military.
Another witness, Eve Garibay, said she saw a man get out of the passenger side of a car at the corner of Pico and Cloverfield boulevards, and begin shooting in different directions.“I didn’t know if there was a gang issue or someone just openly, randomly shooting at people. I thought ‘I’ve got to get under the table.’”