Ex-postal worker kills three

Santa Maria Times
Date: January 31, 2006
By Michelle Hatfield/Staff Writer

A former employee opened fire at a U.S. Postal Service sorting station blocks away from UC Santa Barbara Monday night, killing three people and critically wounding a fourth, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department officials said.

All of the victims were believed to be employees of the facility, sheriff's officials said.

The shooting took place at 9:15 p.m., said Capt. Keith Cullom of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. The county postal sorting station is at 400 Storke Road, across the street from Santa Barbara County Fire Station 11, where witnesses ran immediately after gunfire broke out, Cullom said.

Officials identified the suspect as Jennifer San Marco, a 5-foot-5-inch woman with brown eyes and brown hair cut in a crew-cut style.

Police believe San Marco was driving a green 1993 Toyota MR2 with a California license plate of 3JKK926, and warned that she may have a semi-automatic handgun. She remained at large early today.

Two women were taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where nursing supervisor L. Perry said one of them was pronounced dead upon arrival. The other was hospitalized in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head, Perry said.

Sheriff's spokesman Erik Raney said the two victims pronounced dead at the scene were found outside the building and the two wounded were found inside.

"There were reports of gunfire in front of the building. There were reports of gunfire inside the building," he said during a press conference at 11 p.m. Monday.

None of the victim's names were immediately released.

Postal worker Dan Padre said he was inside the sorting facility at the time of the shooting. He heard a loud noise, but did not know the source. Padre then heard a second noise and saw people start running out of the building, he said. Padre said he did not see the suspect or the victims.

Law enforcement officers had cordoned off the area on Storke Road, about a half mile from UCSB, and were searching the area for the suspect late Monday night, officials said.

"Our SWAT teams are going in there as if the suspect is still inside and we're taking every precaution of course," sheriff's spokesman Erik Raney told reporters. He said police were advising people in the immediate area to stay inside their homes.

As of late Monday night, no weapon had been found at the scene, officials said.

It took police two hours to secure a perimeter around the building, and S.W.A.T. team members were carefully moving into the building as if the suspect were still inside. Officials also acknowledged that the shooter could be one of the wounded.

Postal workers and witnesses were evacuated to Fire Station 11, where they were interviewed by police officers Monday night.

More than 100 officers from several different agencies, including the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol and Santa Barbara Police Department, remained on the scene at midnight.



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