LOCAL L.A. Now

Gabrielle Giffords calls Santa Monica shooting 'eerily reminiscent'

On the six-month anniversary of the school shooting that rocked Newtown, Conn., former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – who was the victim of a shooting in 2011 – called last week’s Santa Monica rampage "eerily reminiscent.”

In an opinion piece penned for the Newtown Bee, Giffords and Roxanna Green, whose daughter was killed in the Tucson shooting, called for “common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence.”

“Today, we choose and pledge that we will take our grief, and on behalf of our loved ones and those lost in Newtown, in Santa Monica, in Aurora, and so many places that don’t make headlines, we will not stop fighting until our government has come to its senses,” the writers said.

Authorities have said John Zawahri, 23, first killed his father, Samir, 55, and older brother, Christopher, 25, before heading for Santa Monica College last week. Zawahri carjacked a motorist and forced her at gunpoint to drive him to the campus.

Along the way he fired on other vehicles, including a sport-utility vehicle carrying Santa Monica College groundskeeper Carlos Franco, 68, and his daughter, Marcela, 26. Both died.

Police identified his last victim as Margarita Gomez, a 68-year-old visiting the campus to collect cans.

As the rampage reached its final stages, two Santa Monica police officers and one Santa Monica College officer ultimately "neutralized" the gunman, authorities said.

“We think of the family of Carlos Franco, who was killed in his car along with his daughter, Marcela Franco,” Giffords and Green wrote in their opinion piece published Friday. “Carlos Franco was a groundskeeper at Santa Monica College where his daughter planned to study;  moments before he died, he left a telephone message for his wife – letting her know they were late and that he loved her.

“These are moments that stay with us forever.”   

ALSO:

Accident closes southbound I-5 lanes north of Oceanside

Santa Monica shooter said goodbye to friends in farewell note

Three killed in Pico Rivera crash were heading home from a party 

twitter.com/MattStevensLAT 

matt.stevens@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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