A story for every victim

Marcela Franco, 26

Marcela Franco, a 26-year-old Latina, died Saturday, June 8, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, one day after she was shot and wounded in rampage that left four others and the gunman dead in Santa Monica. Her family was by her side when she died.

[Correction: An earlier version of the post incorrectly stated that Franco died on Sunday, June 9. According to coroner's records, Franco died on June 8 at 11:27 a.m.]

Franco and her father, Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, were together in a car in a parking lot of Santa Monica College when the gunman, identified by police John Zawahri, 23, opened fire on them. Her father, a groundskeeper for the school, died at the scene.

Marcela, who wanted to be a clinical psychologist, had just enrolled for summer classes at the school. When her main college, Cal State Dominguez Hills, couldn't provide the units she needed to graduate in the fall, she decided to take the courses at Santa Monica.

"She was smart, obviously really pretty, and just very loving," said Marcela's boyfriend, Ryan Payne, 26, who also spent the weekend by her side. They had been dating exclusively for only about a month, but "it's been the best month of my life," he said.

Zawahri was killed by police during a confrontation in the college's library.

Police said the 10-minute rampage began just before noon June 7 at a house on Yorkshire Avenue that was set on fire. Authorities later found the bodies of the gunman’s father, Samir Zawahri, 55, and brother, Chris, 25, inside.

By the time police caught up with John Zawahri at the college library, killing him in a shootout, the gunman also had killed Margarita Gomez, 68, outside the building and wounded several others along the way. Law enforcement sources described Zawahri as an emotionally troubled person who armed himself with high-powered weapons and may have had up to 1,300 rounds of ammunition.

Donations to the Franco family memorial fund can be made online or by mail to the Santa Monica College Foundation, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405.

-- Los Angeles Times staff

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