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California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

Gunman opens fire near California college injuring four; two found dead in nearby burned home

06/07/2013

FOX NEWS.  JUNE 7, 2013.  A gunman opened fire on a street corner near the campus of Santa Monica College, wounding at least four people, authorities said. Two people were later found dead in a burned home near the campus.

It was not immediately clear if the two events were related.

However, a neighbor told Fox News that a man walked out of the burning house in full tactical gear, stopped two cars, and fired three rounds at one of the cars, hitting a woman at least once in the shoulder.  According to the neighbor, the man threw the woman out of the car and drove away.

The neighbor said an old man lived in the burned home with his two adult sons.

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.

Police said a shooter was in custody and the campus was being searched for a possible second shooter.

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 burned home, he said.

Three shooting victims were admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, hospital spokesman Mark Wheeler said. Two were in critical condition and one was in serious condition, said.

Student Noke Taumalolo told Fox News that he saw a female worker sorting recycling cans lying bloody on the ground with the gunman standing over her.  According to the student, the gunman was wearing black tactical gear including a vest, SWAT-like fatigues and a riot helmet.

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.

Santa Monica police Sgt. Rudy 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.

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.

Santa Monica College is a two-year college with about 34,000 students in an area of homes and strip malls. It's a little more than a mile from the coastal city's beaches and pier, and about 3 miles from where Obama was attending the fundraiser.

Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said the agency was aware of the shooting but it had no impact on the president's event.

The president was scheduled to take Marine One to the airport, but will travel by motorcade to avoid any impact on the ongoing local response to the shooting.