June 14, 2013

Police: Santa Monica gunman left farewell note

Tami Abdollah / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks of the Santa Monica, Calif., Police Department speaks at a news conference Thursday.


Though Zawahri fired about 100 rounds during the rampage, police said he was carrying 1,300 rounds of ammunition in magazines that were capable of holding 30 rounds each. Such high-capacity magazines are illegal to purchase, sell or transfer in California. Possession is not illegal. He also had a spare upper receiver and the antique revolver with him in a duffel bag.

Zawahri's last reported contact with law enforcement was seven years ago, when bomb-making materials were found at his house during a search prompted by threats to students, teachers and campus police officers at Olympic High, a school for students with academic or disciplinary issues.

The Santa Monica-Malibu school board was briefed at the time by school administrators after police found Zawahri was learning to make explosives by downloading instructions from YouTube, school board member Oscar de la Torre said.

Retired police officer Cristina Coria, who helped serve the search warrant, said Zawahri was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation at the time. She didn't know the outcome of the evaluation.

Police declined to provide further details, saying Zawahri was a minor at the time. But once a person is held for such an exam, they cannot access or possess firearms for five years.

In the case of Zawahri, that prohibition would have expired in 2011.

Police said Thursday that in 2011, Zawahri tried to buy a weapon but was denied by the California Department of Justice, likely because of that 2006 incident.

Despite that denial, Seabrooks said, Zawahri was able to buy the component parts to build his own weapon and obtain an array of magazines.

Santa Monica police said they will work with the ATF to understand how he came to possess these gun components, Seabrooks said.

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