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One dead in shooting at Southern California college, authorities say

Friday, June 7, 2013 - 6:19pm

One person died Friday in connection with a shooting at Santa Monica College in California, and authorities were investigating whether two other killings in the city were connected.

Of six people wounded, a woman has died and one was in critical condition and undergoing surgery, Dr. Marshall Morgan, chief of emergency medicine at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, told reporters.

A suspect was taken into custody, according to Sgt. Richard Lewis, a police spokesman. Witnesses told CNN a man they believed to be a gunman was shot and lay motionless on the ground.

An eyewitness on campus, Jason Garrett, told CNN the suspected shooter was dressed all in black and appeared to be wearing a tactical vest. The man appeared to be carrying a rifle, Garrett said.

A female witness -- who was shaken up by the ordeal and asked not to identified -- said she heard a noise, realized it was a gunshot, then took off running.

Then, in a hallway, she saw a dark-haired man whom she initially mistook for a police officer but later realized was the shooter. The man -- who she said was wearing black combat boots and what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest -- was quiet and walking casually

"(He had) a big shotgun," the woman said.

She and a colleague eventually realized something wasn't right and ran in the opposite direction. "Multiple" gun shots rang out at one point, in an exchange of gunfire the woman described as like a war zone.

Authorities continued to search for a possible second gunman, Officer Vince Ramirez told CNN. The search was on the campus and in the surrounding area, officials said.

The school was put under lockdown.

The gunman got off at least one shot inside the campus library, several witnesses told CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS.

Priscilla Morales, who was in the library, told CNN she heard three gunshots. "I was so scared and thought literally I was going to die."

Meanwhile, the bodies of two men, believed to have been shot, were found inside a burning house in Santa Monica, near the college, Santa Monica Fire Capt. Jeff Furrow told CNN. One woman, shot and injured, was found in a car outside the house.

Authorities also were investigating a shooting that targeted a bus in Santa Monica. Two passengers were injured, Suja Lowenthal, a Big Blue Bus spokeswoman, told CNN.

Officials did not say whether the incidents are connected.

President Barack Obama was in Santa Monica for a fundraiser just a 10-minute drive from the campus, KCAL/KCBS reported.

-- CNN's Miguel Marquez reported from Santa Monica and Chelsea J. Carter and Phil Gast reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Cheri Mossburg and Traci Tamura contributed to this report.


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