College groundskeeper was victim of shooting spree

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — The shooting rampage in Santa Monica on Friday claimed the lives of five victims and injured several others. Authorities shot and killed the gunman. Here are the stories of some who lost their lives.


Samir Zawahri, 55, the father of the gunman, owned the Santa Monica house where the violence began in a neighborhood tucked up against Interstate 10. He moved there with his wife and two sons in 1996 from an apartment across town, according to property records and neighbors. He and Randa Abdou, 54, married on New Year’s Eve 1985, but the couple split up later, though the date of their divorce was not immediately clear from public records. Samir Zawahri bought the house from his ex-wife in 2002. Neighbors said one son lived at the house with the father and one lived with the mother in an apartment about two miles away.


Police said Chris Zawahri, 24, the older brother of the gunman, was in the Santa Monica house where the violence began. The gunman was a day shy of turning 24 when he went on the shooting spree, which makes the brother very close in age. A neighbor said that the brothers’ parents split custody of their sons after going through a difficult divorce.


Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, and his daughter Marcela, were the first people struck at Santa Monica College when the gunman opened fire on a Ford Explorer. The shooting immediately killed the elder Franco, who plowed through a brick wall into a faculty parking lot.

He was a groundskeeper at the college for 22 years.

“Carlos was a very, very hard worker,” his supervisor Tom Corpus said in a statement. “Everything Carlos did was for the college and for his family.”

The Santa Monica College Foundation has started the Carlos Franco Family Memorial Fund.

“Carlos was truly a family man,” Santa Monica College President Chui L. Tsang wrote in a letter to the campus community. “He was a dedicated husband and father and an integral part of the Santa Monica College family. His dedicated work to the campus grounds was enjoyed by students and visitors for two decades. He will be sorely missed.”


Marcela Franco, 26, was pursuing a degree in psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where she was involved in campus activity, the university said.

Franco had signed up for summer classes at Santa Monica College, and went with her father to the campus Friday to purchase textbooks. She was gravely wounded in the shooting, was taken off life support at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Sunday, her aunt Margaret Quinones-Perez said.

“Marcela and Carlos were very close,” Perez said. “She was a daddy’s girl, so the blessing is they went together.”

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