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Coroner Talks 'How' But Can't Answer 'Why' In Fifth Third Murders

Bill Rinehart
Investigators are still looking for a motive in the shooting of three people at the Fifth Third Center on Thursday, September 6.

Hamilton County's coroner has released some technical details about last Thursday's deadly shooting at the Fifth Third Center in Downtown Cincinnati. But Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco says there still isn't an answer as to why Omar Enrique Santa-Perez started shooting.

Three people were killed before police fatally shot the gunman.

Sammarco says she watched the surveillance video Monday.

"That was hard to watch. It was really hard to to watch," she says. "It was a man with a purpose. There was no hesitation. He repeatedly shot the victims. There was no rhyme or reason. He was just looking to cause as much damage as he could, and to kill as many people as he could."

At a Tuesday press conference, Sammarco says she's not sure she'd want the video footage released. She says what is shown on TV and in movies doesn't compare.

Police said earlier Santa-Perez fired 35 times before his 9mm handgun jammed. Sammarco says he was carrying dozens of hollow point and full metal jacketed rounds. She says hollow point bullets tend to "tumble" when they strike a victim, and cause a lot of damage, where full metal jacketed rounds travel in more of a straight line.

One of the deceased was shot once; another had four bullet wounds; and the third was hit seven times. She declined to identify victims by their wounds.

Santa-Perez was shot several times by officers, including what she described as a fatal shotgun blast to the head.

She says her office expects preliminary toxicology tests later this week. Those should show if Santa-Perez was on any prescription or illicit drugs.

Sammarco praised first responders, saying there was nothing they could have done better. Two people wounded in the attack are listed in fair condition.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.