Santa Monica College Shooting Turns Deadly with Seven Dead, Several Wounded

Jun 7, 2013 2:34 PM

(BREAKING) 4:58 p.m.- NBC News is now reporting at least seven people, including a gunman, were killed and two to three others injured Friday in a series of shootings near a community college in Santa Monica, Calif., west of Los Angeles, authorities said. The suspected shooter was shot and killed by officers at the scene and authorities have another suspect in custody, they said.

The shootings took place near where President Barack Obama was scheduled to attend a fundraising event. FBI agents responded to the scene, but the Secret Service said the shootings were believed to be unrelated to the president's visit.

Investigators gave no indication of a possible motive.

CBS News-At least one person opened fire at Santa Monica College in southern California Friday, killing one person and seriously wounding several others.

Near the scene, two dead bodies were found in a burned building and woman also was found with a gunshot wound in a car outside the burned home, fire officials said. It's not immediately clear if the incidents are related.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center spokesman Mark Wheeler said the hospital received four victims, including two in critical condition, one in serious condition, and one in good condition.

Police Sgt. Rudy Flores said the shooter, who is in custody, was also wounded, but he did not elaborate on the extent of the wounds.

A man dressed entirely in black, with the words "Life is a Gamble" on the back of his sweatshirt, was seen being taken into custody by law enforcement officers.

Police and witnesses said the gunfire began adjacent to the campus and about 3 miles from where President Barack Obama was attending a fundraising luncheon, just before noon.

The school was put on lockdown Friday after the shooting was reported in the school's library, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Flores said numerous witnesses called to report that the shooting began with a man on a street corner near the college firing shots at vehicles, including a bus.

Jeff Furrows of the Santa Monica Fire Department said there was extensive fire damage inside the nearby home. A woman also was found with a gunshot wound in a car outside the home, he said.

Jerry Cunningham Rathner, who lives near the house, said she heard gunshots shortly before noon and came out onto her porch to see a man shooting at the residence. Soon, the building erupted in flames and was billowing smoke.

The gunman, dressed in black and wearing an ammunition belt, went to the corner and pointed a military-style rifle at a woman in a car and told her to pull over, Rathner said. He then signaled to a second car, also driven by a woman, to slow down and began firing into the vehicle.

"He fired three to four shots into the car -- boom, boom, boom, right at her," said Cunningham, who went to the woman's aid and saw she was wounded in the shoulder.

"I can't believe she didn't have worse injuries," Cunningham said.

Several witnesses also reported two separate shooting incidents.

One witness interviewed by CBS Los Angeles described a shooter as a white male who appeared "very calm."

Jimes Gillespie, 20, told The Associated Press he was in the college's library studying when he heard the gunfire, and he and dozens of other students began fleeing the three-story building.

"As I was running down the stairs I saw one of the gunmen," said Gillespie, who described the shooter as a white man in his 20s, wearing cornrows in his hair and black overalls. He said the man was carrying a shotgun.

Gillespie believes there were two shooters because he heard two kinds of gunfire -- a shotgun and a handgun -- but only saw one person.

"The shotgun blast was first. It was either him or the partner who shot eight to 10 handgun shots," Gillespie said. "Then after I saw the gunman I heard more shots and I ran out of the library through the emergency exit."

As Gillespie ran away across campus, he said he saw a car in front of the English building that was riddled with bullet holes, had shattered windows and a baby's car seat in the back.

California Highway Patrol Officer Vince Ramirez said his agency began receiving 911 calls just minutes before noon.

"We understand one shooter was taken into custody shortly after we arrived," he said.

Ramirez said officers were searching the 38-acre campus after witnesses said there may have been a second shooter. He emphasized that those reports were unconfirmed.

The two-year college, with about 34,000 students, was in the midst of final exams Friday. It was quickly locked down by police, and students were told to leave.

As the drama unfolded, Obama was attending a fundraising luncheon about three miles away.

"We are aware of the incident and it is not impacting the visit. It's a local police matter at this point," said Edwin M. Donovan, Deputy Assistant Director of the Secret Service, in a statement released after the incident.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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