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8 Jun, 2013

5 dead as another domestic terrorist opens fire in Santa Monica, California


LOS ANGELES, June 7 (Xinhua) — Five people, including the gunman, were killed Friday in a shooting spree in Santa Monica, California, police said at a press conference. Police revised down the death toll late Friday from earlier reports of seven.

Jacqueline Seabrooks, chief of the Santa Monica police department, said the rolling wave of violence began around noon with shooting and fire in a local house where two bodies were found and continued with a gunman firing randomly at people and vehicles on nearby streets, killing one person.

Police said the gunman, a white male wearing ballistic vest, then fled into a library of the Santa Monica College and continued shooting. He exchanged fire with the police and was shot dead. No policeman was injured during the shootout.

According to witnesses, the gunman was dressed in black and carrying a semiautomatic weapon.

Health officials from the University of California in Los Angeles said six people injured in the shooting, all female, have been treated there. Two were in critical conditions, one of them has died.

Police spokesman Sgt. Richard Lewis said the two people found dead in the house may be related to the gunman. According to the Los Angeles Times, the bodies are believed to be his brother and father.

The Santa Monica College and neighboring schools were put on lockdown after the incident. Many college students were studying or taking finals when it occured.

Oswald Jesus, a witness student, told Xinhua that he heard gun shots while in the library. “Then I heard like a girl screaming and saw people running in a rush,” he said.

Two gunshots were initially heard, followed by what sounded like dozens of additional shots near the campus bookstore, a college employee told local media.

Another suspect taken into custody earlier has been released. The dead gunman had acted alone, Lewis said.

The shooting occurred just miles from the scene of a Democratic National Committee fundraiser attended by U.S. President Barack Obama, but was not believed to be impacting the event.

Read also: Home-Grown Terrorism: One Swamp The U.S. Cannot Drain