One year later, all is quiet where the rampage began
2036 Yorkshire Ave. in Santa Monica is a sad house. The roof is pockmarked with holes, the remaining shingles sit heavy on walls that bear the scars left behind by the flames from last year's fire. The gate that once kept onlookers at bay is gone and the weeds are occasionally chopped down, but neither can hide the pain that wraps itself around this house. The now dilapidated house, a veritable skeleton of a home at the end of the block, is where the rampage began. It ended at Santa Monica College.
John Zawahri shot and killed his father Samir and brother Christopher in what was once his family home at approximately 11:55 a.m. on June 7, 2013. Zawahri then proceeded to set the home on fire, carjack Laura Sisk and leave the neighborhood to terrorize Santa Monica College. The chaos remained behind.
Next-door neighbor Joyce Sandoval recognized the sound of gunshots as she was sitting in her living room with her grandson.
“It was scary when it happened. I called 911,” Sandoval said.
Janet Carter recognized the gunshots too. She lives on Kansas Avenue and along with other neighbors, took to caring for Debra Lynn Fine who was shot in her car.
“We just kept waiting for the cops to come. We didn’t realize that he had left and gone up to where he shot the bus and then Santa Monica College. [The cops] didn’t realize it either,” Carter said.
In the end, Zawahri’s rampage killed six people, including himself.
What he left in his wake was a charred house and a litany of unanswered questions that persist one year later.
“I still don’t have the story of why it happened and what the problem was between that family,” Sandoval said.
The former SMC student’s parents, Randa Abdou and Samir Zawahri, bought the house in 1996 in a quiet corner of Santa Monica nestled by the Interstate 10.
The Zawahris appeared to keep to themselves - none of the neighbors interviewed for this story claimed to have known them.
Inside the walls of 2036 Yorkshire Ave however, was the scene of an abusive home.
In 1998, Abdou filed for a restraining order against Samir Zawahri, quoting her husband as saying, “If I had a gun, it would be over.” The subsequent restraining order was dropped.
The couple separated and Abdou and the sons took residence in an apartment nearby.
In 2002, Samir attempted to have Abdou sign a deed that would have turned over ownership of the house to himself. Samir, who worked as a real estate professional for Pardee Homes, told Abdou that signing the "sham deed" would have been "good for the family business," according to court documents.
“I don’t know who the house belongs to now. I don’t know who inherited it and I would like to either have it torn down and have a new house built or tear it down and leave an empty lot. I don’t care,” Sandoval said.
Ownership of the house and execution of the estate is currently being fought over in Los Angeles County Probate Court.
Family relatives Fayad Nouhad Zawahri and Fayad Marybelleobject to Abdou administering the estate of Samir due to their estrangement.
However, loan documents show that both Abdou and Samir’s names were on the deed to the house in 2003 and court documents in Abdou’s response to the objection show that Samir referred to Abdou as his wife after the estrangement.
The neighborhood has marched on in the year since the rampage.
In the days after the shooting the media descended upon the neighborhood.
“Way too much media, streets were closed off, just like any other place you were bombarded by media,” Carter said.
Knowing the history of the home did scare off a potential renter months after the shooting, according to neighbor Steven Sapir.
Now, the only visitors are those who park near the home before a meal at Rae’s diner up the street, and home-flippers, some of who do not know that the home at 2036 Yorkshire Ave. was where the rampage started.
One year later there is no media, all roads are open, and the neighborhood, for all intents and purposes, is whole. The streets surrounding 2036 Yorkshire Ave. are quiet once again
“Everyone just looks after everybody. We smile and wave at each other more often,” Carter said.