Authorities recently uncovered a possible motive behind the Jan. 30 shootings at the Goleta Postal Distribution Center, while searching the New Mexico residence of Jennifer San Marco – the 44-year-old woman who killed 7 people before turning the gun on herself.
Detectives from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. and agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service served a federal search warrant on Feb. 2 at San Marco’s home in Grants, N.M. Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Sgt. Erik Raney said detectives uncovered several documents San Marco had written in which she said she believed the postal distribution center, the Sheriff’s Dept. and a local medical facility were plotting a conspiracy against her. He said investigators believe San Marco’s paranoia about the alleged conspiracy may have been the motive behind the shootings at the postal facility.
“She obviously believed that these organizations were out to get her in some way or another and were plotting against her,” Raney said. “And she obviously had feelings towards those organizations.”
Raney said the only lead investigators currently have in the murder of 54-year-old Goleta resident Beverly Graham is that she and San Marco used to be neighbors. San Marco murdered Graham before opening fire at the postal facility Jan. 30.
“Beverly Graham’s homicide is seen as separate from those at the postal facility,” Raney said. “The only indication we do have, as far as a motive there, is that they lived across from each other and apparently had contact with each other while living there. But the exact nature of that contact is unknown.”
According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Dept., detectives found a cancelled check in San Marco’s home. The check was made out to cash, with a memo note of “Will” written on it. Investigators believe the check proves San Marco recently made out a will. Detectives are currently searching for the document.
Raney said investigators also learned that the 9mm pistol San Marco used in the shootings was originally purchased in San Jose, Calif. and was then sold to Ace Pawn and Antiques in Grants. He said San Marco purchased the weapon from the shop in Aug. 2005, and then bought the ammunition at a different pawn shop in Gallup, N.M.
Raney said the gun was not registered to San Marco, but he does not think it is illegal to own a gun registered to someone else. He said investigators are looking into the process Ace Pawn and Antiques used to screen San Marco before selling her the weapon, but he thinks the transaction was entirely legal.
“She apparently bought it following the proper guidelines, but I’m not familiar with the New Mexico laws on waiting periods and that kind of stuff,” Raney said. “In California, there’s a 10-day waiting period and in New Mexico, I’ve heard, there’s only a two-day waiting period.”
Detectives are still working to reconstruct San Marco’s journey from New Mexico to California before the shootings. SB County Sheriff Jim Anderson said a credit card receipt found in San Marco’s car places her in Los Angeles on the morning of Jan. 30.
According to the press release, a credit card purchase puts her in New Mexico on Jan. 24 and an Arizona map found in her car indicates she drove from New Mexico to California through Arizona.
Raney said he thinks all the agencies involved in the investigation are doing a good job of working together to recover information about the shootings.
“I think that everybody involved is doing a great job,” Raney said. “It’s been an incredible collaborative effort between federal and local authorities. The SB County Sheriff’s Dept. is allocating resources to this so we can get to the bottom of this investigation as quickly as possible, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Dept. of Justice have all been assisting us. I think it’s been going really well.”
Authorities are currently preparing for a memorial service in honor of the victims of the shooting. Raney said the service is scheduled for this Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Thunderdome. He said Anderson plans to speak at the memorial. The Sheriff’s Dept. is currently working with the UC Police Dept., the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Barbara City Police Dept. to coordinate security for the event.