SANTA MONICA (CNS) – As many as three people were shot today when gunfire rang out at Santa Monica College, and a suspect was taken into custody while a search continued to determine if any other suspects were involved.
The shooting erupted around noon near the middle of the campus at 1900 Pico Blvd., just miles from the scene of a political fundraiser attended by President Barack Obama. A campus employee told City News Service two gunshots were initially heard, followed by what sounded like dozens of additional shots near the campus bookstore.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that as many as three people had been shot. The conditions of the victims were not known.
The campus was placed on lockdown while SMC and Santa Monica police swarmed toward the campus library, where much of the gunfire apparently occurred. Neighboring Will Rogers Elementary School and John Adams Middle School were also locked down.
Santa Monica High School was also locked down, according to the Los Angeles Times.
California Highway Patrol Officer Vince Ramirez told CNS that a 911 call was received at 11:55 a.m. about a man with one or more guns and firing south of the college. Ramirez said one person had been taken into custody, but police were continuing to search the campus to determine if anyone else was involved.
Initial reports indicated that a suspect was “down” inside the SMC library.
Another CHP officer told KCAL9 the agency originally received reports about a suspect opening fire on a Santa Monica Big Blue Bus in the area. It was unclear if anyone was injured in that shooting.
The shooting occurred just miles from the scene of a Democratic National Committee fundraiser attended by President Barack Obama, but the shooting was not believed to be impacting the event.
“We are aware of the incident and it is not impacting the (president’s) visit,” U.S. Secret Service spokesman Edwin M. Donovan said. “It’s a local police matter at this point.”
An SMC student told ABC7 he heard the gunfire.
“I was near the bookstore when I heard 15 or 20 more shots,” he said. “I stopped and went into the Theater Arts building. … I’m extremely shaken.”
Another student said she heard gunshots while she was heading to the library to study for her final exams, which were being administered on the campus this week.
“I ran to my car as quick as I could,” she told Channel 7. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Another student told KCAL9 that he believed there were two shooters on the campus, one dressed in black.
UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.
Officials at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center say they are treating three victims from the shooting at Santa Monica College — two in critical condition and one in serious condition.