Zawahri had remorse letter, police say

Tina Eady

Tina Eady, Staff Writer

The gunman who ravaged Santa Monica last week wrote a letter expressing remorse for killing his father and brother, police said, and hopes his mother is taken care of financially.

Law enforcement found this letter on gunman John Zawahri’s body.

Although the three-page note did not give any indication as to his motives, police say the fire that took place early on to be arson.

The .223 assault rifle Zawahri used during his rampage does not have a serial number, police said. The magazines he used are capable of holding 30 rounds and are illegal in California.

Police said the magazines were shipped to Zawahri from somewhere in Northern California.

Investigators are still looking into how he obtained additional ammunition.

While searching Zawahri’s room at his father’s house, where he had been living, police also found a letter from the Department of Justice dated Oct. 1, 2011 informing Zawahri that he was not eligible to purchase a firearm.

There are no firearms registered under his or the family name.

Zahwahri shot his father and brother, then set the home he sometimes shared with them on fire before fatally shooting three and critically injuring others in a shooting rampage that ended in the Santa Monica College library, where SMPD and Santa Monica College police gunned him down.

SMPD Sgt. Rudy Camarena said Zawahri’s body was moved from the library to Pearl Street because the scene was not secure, and that the body needed certain medical treatment.

“From a tactical standpoint, whenever we engage someone or shoot someone and we haven’t secured that scene, we are going to remove a person from that scene until we can secure that scene,” he said. “But at the same time that person needs medical care, so we need to remove him so that person can be treated by emergency personnel while the officers are still securing the scene.”

According to what police found in Zawahri’s house, he modified a .44 caliber revolver to shoot .45 caliber bullets, had at least two zip guns, which are illegal and appear to have been handmade, that could fire live rounds and some replicas.

Parts of the rifle may have been purchased over the internet as well.

The high-capacity ammo magazines Zawahari used are illegal to buy, sell or transfer police said.

“The gun components were legal but the zip guns and weapons he made were not,” said SMPD Chief Seabrooks.

SMPD is also working with the F.B.I. to understand “Zawahri’s psychological make-up and motivation” Chief Seabrooks said.

Several sources said Zawahri suffered from mental issues that may stem from his parents divorce. Zawahri’s mother, Randa Abdou, had previously asked the court for a restraining order against the father, Samir Zawahri.

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