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'At least a half dozen dead' in Santa Monica, Calif., rampage

June 7, 2013 at 8:01 PM   |   Comments

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 7 (UPI) -- At least six people were killed Friday, including a man suspected of starting a house fire and going on a shooting rampage in Santa Monica, Calif., police said.

Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks told reporters the suspected gunman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police in the library of Santa Monica College, after he allegedly shot and killed at least three people and wounded several others with an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon in a rampage that apparently began at a house not far from the college.

Santa Monica Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said the department responded to a report of a fire in the single-family house just before noon and, after getting the blaze under control, found two bodies in the home.

Seabrooks said the suspect -- described as a white male, age 25-30, dressed in all black and wearing what appeared to be a ballistic vest -- made his way through the neighborhood, shooting an undetermined number of people and killing at least two in separate incidents. Once on the SMC campus, the shooter kept firing his weapon, killing one woman, before he was in turned killed in a gun battle with police.

SMC Police Chief Albert Vasquez said it hadn't been determined whether the gunman was killed by campus police or by Santa Monica police.

None of the victims' names had been released late Friday afternoon pending notification of next of kin.

Seabrooks stressed the incident started in the community and culminated on campus but was not "a college or school shooting."

She said police have detained a person of interest and were not "convinced 100 percent that the suspect who was killed operated in a solo or a lone capacity."

Dr. Marshall Morgan, director of the UCLA Emergency Medicine Center in Westwood, told reporters three female shooting victims were taken to the center and three others were admitted at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.

Of the three admitted to the Westwood hospital, one had died, Morgan said. Another was in critical condition with head injuries and the third "appears to be doing quite well" with relatively minor injuries.

One of the three people at UCLA Santa Monica was being treated for shrapnel injuries. The other two were being treated for "relatively minor injuries" and were doing well.

Citing law enforcement sources it did not identify, the Los Angeles Times reported the gunman had broken into a home and set fire to another property in the area before shooting at several cars in "multiple locations."

The Times' sources said the suspect in the campus shootings tried to hijack several cars, including one near the school library and campus police station.

The bomb squad was called to the campus and the school was on lockdown, police said.

College officials issued a statement announcing the lockdown and cautioning students and faculty to "stay out of open spaces, stay indoors, lock all doors and do not open the doors until you receive an all clear from college officials. If you are off campus, do not come to campus."

The shooting occurred as President Barack Obama was in the area for a Democratic Party fundraiser.

Citing sources, the Times said the shooting did not appear to be related to the president's visit.

"We are aware of the incident and it is not impacting the visit," Secret Service spokesman Edwin M. Donovan told reporters. "It's a local police matter at this point."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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