DOWNTOWN — On the six-month anniversary of the deadly Newtown, Conn. school shooting that shocked the nation and renewed efforts for stricter gun control laws, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords —who was the victim of a shooting in her hometown of Tucson, Ariz. in 2011 — called the recent Santa Monica shooting rampage “eerily reminiscent.”
In an opinion piece for the Newtown Bee, Giffords and Roxanna Green, whose 9-year-old daughter was killed in the Tucson, Ariz. shooting, called for “common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence.”
“Today, we choose and pledge that we will take our grief, and on behalf of our loved ones and those lost in Newtown, in Santa Monica, in Aurora, and so many places that don’t make headlines, we will not stop fighting until our government has come to its senses,” the authors said.
Authorities have said John Zawahri, 23, first killed his father, Samir, 55, and older brother, Christopher, 24, before heading for Santa Monica College last week. Zawahri carjacked a motorist and forced her at gunpoint to drive him to the campus.
Along the way he fired on other vehicles, including a sport-utility vehicle carrying Santa Monica College groundskeeper Carlos Franco, 68, and his daughter, Marcela, 26. Both died.
Police identified his last victim as Margarita Gomez, a 68-year-old visiting the campus to collect cans.
As the rampage reached its final stages, two Santa Monica police officers and one Santa Monica College officer ultimately shot and killed the gunman.
“We think of the family of Carlos Franco, who was killed in his car along with his daughter, Marcela Franco. Carlos Franco was a groundskeeper at Santa Monica College where his daughter planned to study; moments before he died, he left a telephone message for his wife — letting her know they were late and that he loved her.
“These are moments that stay with us forever. The last conversations, the last glimpses, the plans made and not kept as gunfire erupted.”
While President Obama and some lawmakers like California Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushed for greater gun control laws following the Newtown massacre, the Senate failed to pass expanded background checks on gun purchases, leading activists to wonder what it will take to pressure Congress into action.
A poll released by The Washington Post and Pew Research Center found that only 47 percent of respondents said they were “disappointed” or “angry” that the Senate failed to advance a bill to expand background checks to gun shows and online sales.