Cops ID Santa Monica Shooter, Possible Motive

Sources say 23-year-old gunman was possibly motivated by parents' divorce
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2013 5:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – Police have identified the suspected gunman in Friday's Santa Monica shooting spree as John Zawahri, a man in his 20s who was possibly angry over his parents' divorce, the LA Times reports. The Times says five law enforcement sources have confirmed Zawahri as the suspect, while others say the shooting, which left four dead, was possibly motivated by the family dispute, though the investigation is still in its early days. A source tells CNN that the suspect suffered mental health issues in the past, and was previously hospitalized after allegedly harming someone.

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Police will not publicly confirm the name of the alleged gunman (they do confirm his age at 23), because his next of kin is out of the country right now, but have said they believe the killings were premeditated. "Any time someone puts on a vest, of some sort, comes out with a bag full of loaded magazines, has an extra receiver, has a handgun and has a semi-automatic rifle, carjacks folks, goes to a college, kills more people and has to be neutralized at the hands of the police, I would say that that's premeditated," Santa Monica's police chief said at a press conference today, AP reports. She also said police had contact with the gunman in 2006, but could not say why because he was a juvenile at the time. (Read more Santa Monica stories.)

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