California gunman walked quietly and casually as he fired, killing 4

Mgn Online
Saturday, June 8, 2013 - 9:33am

Authorities on Saturday identified one of four people shot dead by a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle who blazed a mile-long path of calamity that ended with his death in the library of Santa Monica College.

The dead man was identified as Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, of West Los Angeles. He was the driver of an SUV who was gunned down on the campus, police said.

The three other fatalities and the shooter have not been identified. The school remained closed Saturday as police combed the crime scene for clues to the rampage, which began shortly before noon at a house off campus.

Jerry Cunningham said she watched from her window as the gunman shot into her neighbor's burning house, then forced at gunpoint a woman in a passing car to stop.

As a second woman drove by, the man fired into her car, striking her, police said. She was taken to an area hospital, where she was in stable condition.

He then got into the first car and forced the woman to drive off with him, police said.

During their ride, 911 calls poured in, keeping police on his path, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, a spokesman for the Santa Monica police.

As the car headed toward the campus of the two-year community college, where 30,000 students are registered, he opened fire on a passing bus, slightly wounding three people, said Sgt. Richard Lewis, a spokesman for the Santa Monica Police Department.

He was carrying an "AR-15 style rifle," pistols and "more clips for the rifle," Lewis said.

Police have described the shooter as a 25- to 30-year-old man who was dressed in black and wearing a tactical vest.

As the car pulled onto the campus, the man fired into Franco's red SUV, killing him and critically wounding his passenger, police said. Franco's vehicle crashed after the shooting, Lewis said.

The gunman then abandoned the hijacked vehicle -- leaving the driver unhurt -- and fled on foot, shooting at police, Lewis said.

College employee Joe Orcutt saw the firefight between the man and officers and took off running, but ran the wrong way and found himself facing the gunman.

"He looked over at me, and I looked at him," Orcutt said. "He just panned his gun and trained it on me, and I just jumped behind the building and he shot at me."

The gunman was "very calm, not running around." He was just "looking around for targets very casually," he said.

"He just looked like he was standing there posing for the cover of an ammo magazine or something. It was bizarre."

As the killer ran, he fatally shot a woman, then burst into the campus library, said Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks.

Another woman -- who asked not to be identified -- said she was in the building when she heard a gunshot, and took off.

In a hallway, she saw a dark-haired man in black combat boots who she initially thought was a police officer, but quickly realized was the shooter. The man was walking quietly and casually.

She and a colleague ran; gunshots rang out.

Priscilla Morales said that, when she and her friends looked out a library window and saw people running, they grabbed their belongings and prepared to leave, too, but didn't get far. "As we open the door, we hear three gunshots," she said.

So they closed the door and hid.

"I was so scared and thought literally I was going to die," she said.

"Drop it!" she heard police say, then heard gunshots and a man's screams.

The officers had shot the gunman, Lewis said.

Police said that, with the exception of his first two victims in the off-campus house, all of the other victims appear to have been chosen at random.

President Barack Obama was in Santa Monica for a fundraiser a 10-minute drive from the campus, CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS reported. His schedule was not affected.

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