The Norman Transcript

June 11, 2013

Records show turmoil in gunman’s home

By Amy Taxin and Tami Abdollah
The Associated Press

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The mother of a gunman who fatally shot five people during a chaotic spate of violence last week said the shooter’s father threatened to kill her on at least two occasions during their tumultuous marriage, according to court records obtained Monday.

In a 1998 request for a restraining order, gunman John Zawahri’s mother, Randa Abdou, wrote that her husband once told her: “If I had a gun it would be over.”

Abdou also said her husband had threatened to take their two young sons to Canada after the couple separated at the time, and that he once punched her and stole her jewelry, purse and divorce papers she had started filling out.

Authorities said John Zawahri, 23, shot his father, Samir Zawahri, and his brother, Christopher Zawahri, on Friday, leaving their home in flames before shooting at strangers in cars and on the Santa Monica College campus during a 15-minute rampage.

The former student at the school was heavily armed and carried a duffel bag with 1,300 rounds of ammunition before officers killed him in the campus library.

Abdou cut short a visit with family in Lebanon to return to Los Angeles on Sunday and had spoken with investigators who hoped she could provide clues to what sparked the violence.

Neighbor Beverly Meadows said Abdou told her by phone Monday that she was in mourning and concerned about those who were hurt.

Abdou has not spoken to the media.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the family’s problems played any role in the killings, which came as Santa Monica College students were taking finals. Authorities were tracing the firearms to determine the owner and how Zawahri was in possession of so much ammunition.