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Mother of Santa Monica gunman reveals history of turmoil in family

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By The Associated Press
Monday, June 10, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

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

Meanwhile, students returned to the Santa Monica College campus to complete exams and recover backpacks, cars and other items left behind when they fled in panic on Friday. Extra security and counselors were on hand, but the library remained off-limits.

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 said she left Lebanon and joined her husband in the United States five years after they had married, and that the couple “had marital troubles ever since.” Her husband had threatened to take their two young sons to Canada, she said, and he once punched her and stole divorce papers.

Authorities said John Zawahri, 23, shot his father, Samir Zawahri, and his brother, Christopher Zawahri, leaving their home in flames before beginning a 15-minute rampage.

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

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

“Please respect the fact that this woman is devastated,” Meadows said. “She's very fragile right now. ... Everyone else is gone. She sounds like she's done nothing but cry.”

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