Margarita Gomez Had a Smile For Everyone, Even SMC Rampage Shooter
She had a smile for everyone, and alleged Santa Monica rampage shooter John Zawahri was no different.
An eyewitness told us the older woman known for collecting recyclables on campus was just standing upright after leaning down to retrieve aluminum and plastics from a trash can near the Santa Monica College library when she smiled at the suspect and he opened fire:
Today the only unidentified victim of Friday's Santa Monica rampage was named as Margarita Gomez of Santa Monica. Her age was unknown and she was described by Santa Monica College Police Chief Albert Vasquez as "elderly," according to City News Service.
Gomez was not a student, but her smile was familiar to those on-campus. Vasquez:
We all know of her and we all knew her.
Custodian Jorge Saldana, 47, witnessed the attack on Gomez and told us the shooter "looked like police:"
He was very calm, walking very slow ... As soon as one person got clost to him, just, bam, in cold blood.
Saldana called the victim an "old woman collecting cans:"
She was reaching for cans. He was walking very slow. When you have eye contact with her, she gives a smile. She smiled to him.
The gunman opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle he had held at his side, Saldana said.
"It was shocking."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.