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SWAT-clad man uses assault rifle in chaotic Santa Monica shooting spree

Police have yet to identify the shooter or his motive in an attack Friday that killed four people and wounded five more in Santa Monica, Calif. The attacker was wearing SWAT-type gear and firing an assault rifle.

Santa Monica College students wait for police clearance to pick up their vehicles after a shooting on campus Friday in Santa Monica, Calif. A gunman with an assault-style rifle killed four and wounded five people.

Nick Ut/AP

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A semi-automatic assault rifle is again being tied to a US mass shooting, this one a chaotic series of events led by a body-armor-clad man who killed four and wounded five people before being shot and killed by police in a college library in the iconic beachside city of Santa Monica, Calif.

The attack marked the first major mass shooting since a bipartisan gun control bill failed in the US Senate in April. The shooting may help efforts to revive the debate about gun control, as well as put focus on ongoing legislative action in some states around allowing students and faculty to carry weapons on campuses to help thwart active shooters who target what are usually so-called “gun free” zones.

The rampage began with a house fire where two victims, believed to be the gunman’s father and brother, were later found dead. Next came a violent carjacking in which one woman was shot but survived, and ended with two more people dead, including a college student.

Witnesses describe seeing a man all in black SWAT-gear waving and shooting an AR-15 rifle, the same style of weapon used by shooters in recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. Some witnesses thought the man was a policeman because of his confident gestures in stopping cars, while others described a calm, methodical attack where the shooter casually took aim and fired at targets ranging from people to buses to police cars.

Eyewitness Joe Orcutt told the Associated Press that the shooter “was just standing there, like he’s modeling for some ammo magazine. He was very calm … panning around, seeing who he could shoot, one bullet at a time, like target practice.”


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