February 1, 2006

Death toll rises to 8 in Calif. shooting rampage

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A woman with a history of mental
illness shot and killed an ex-neighbor before going on a
rampage at a California mail facility where she once worked,
raising the death toll to eight, police said on Wednesday.

Santa Barbara police said Jennifer Sanmarco, 44, traveled
from her home in New Mexico to the Southern California town of
Goleta on Monday and shot and killed a woman in an apartment
complex they shared about two years ago.

Armed with a 9 mm pistol, she then drove to a nearby U.S.
Postal Service sorting center where she worked three years ago
and killed five people before turning the gun on herself.

One person wounded in the attack died on Wednesday. All but
one of the dead were women.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Anderson told a news
conference that forensic evidence linked the two crime sites to

"Several 9 mm shell casings (found in the apartment)
matched those found at the postal distribution center,"
Anderson said.

Postal service officials said Sanmarco retired from the
Postal Service in 2003 because of psychological problems.
Anderson added that she had been held for 72 hours in a Santa
Barbara mental hospital in 2001.

Police said Sanmarco reloaded at least once to shoot
workers in the parking lot and inside the sprawling facility
after gaining entry by confronting an employee at the door. It
was not known whether she shot at random or targeted her

U.S. Postal Service authorities said it was the first known
instance of a woman going on a shooting spree in the service.
More than 50 people since 1986 have been killed or wounded by
current or former Postal Service employees, giving rise to the
term ""going postal" for seemingly unprovoked explosions of
anger or violence.