SANTA MONICA, Calif. (NEWS CENTER) -- A native Mainer is among those who narrowly escaped being killed during the shooting rampage at Santa Monica College Friday.
Joe Orcutt, who grew up in Bucksport, now works in the bursar's office at Santa Monica College. On Friday, he came face to face with the gunman who killed 5 people before being shot dead by police at the college library.
Police say 23-year-old John Zawahri first killed his father and brother at their home before setting it on fire. He then carjacked a woman, demanded she drive to the college, and shot at a bus and into a neighborhood. Once at the Santa Monica campus, he shot a father and daughter, Carlos and Marcela Franco, in their SUV. Both have died. Zawahri walked around campus, shooting at anyone he saw, killing another unidentified woman before police killed him in the library.
Orcutt says he was activating student IDs in the courtyard, when he heard what he thought was a car backfiring. He ran down a corridor, then heard another shot and a car crash. Soon, he realized there was a gunman on campus. He tried to figure out how to get away, and saw the gunman on the other end of the corridor.
"And then he turns and looks at me, " Orcutt said. "..and starts panning over with the gun. So I very very quickly jumped behind the building... He shot and it just whizzed by my head...
Something went through my head that I can't really say on TV. It was, 'Get out of the way quick!' after that."
A police officer, who just arrived on campus, directed him out of harm's way. A few minutes later, the shooter was dead.
4 days later -- Orcutt describes the scene on campus as mostly "business as usual."
"It's definitely weird," Orcutt said. "But we've also spent so much time here working that it's definitely comfortable."
Orcutt says his family and friends in Maine have been urging him to come home these past couple days. But he's happy where he is.
He said, "Once you've been in one of these shootings, you know it can happen anywhere."