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Margarita Gomez Had a Smile For Everyone, Even SMC Rampage Shooter

Margarita Gomez Had a Smile For Everyone, Even SMC Rampage Shooter
One of the Santa Monica rampage scenes, courtesy Antony Citrano

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.

See also: Marcela Franco Dies, Becomes 6th Fatality in Santa Monica Rampage.

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:"

Margarita Gomez Had a Smile For Everyone, Even SMC Rampage Shooter
The air above SMC Friday; photo courtesy Antony Citrano
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."

See also: John Zawahri's SMC Rampage Was "Premeditated," Cops Say.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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