A mass shooting at a California social services center killed at least 14 and wounded 17 on Wednesday.
The gunmen linked to the San Bernardino massacre at the Inland Regional Center fled in a black GMC Yukon for three miles before police brought the vehicle to a halt. Two individuals, one male and one female, were killed in a shootout with cops. One individual was taken into custody, but police declined to note the individual’s gender.
Two law enforcement sources identified one of the deceased suspects as Syed Farook, an American citizen, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Authorities have executed a high-risk search warrant at a Redlands home belonging to Farook’s family.
According to public records, a Syed R. Farook is employed as a restaurant health inspector by the San Bernardino County Health Department.
Police have identified the dead female as Tashfeen Malik, 27. San Bernardino Police chief Jarrod Burguan said he doesn’t know the details of the relationship between Farook and Malik. He said Farook is American-born but he doesn’t know details of Malik’s background.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in a Wednesday evening news conference, said the family had not been able to track down named suspect Syed Farook or his wife since Wednesday morning.
NBC said a knowledgeable source said another member of the trio is believed to be Farook’s brother.
Regarding a report about the name of the second suspect, Rick Serrano of the Los Angeles Times originally tweeted: “San Bernardino police released the name of a second suspect in today’s shooting as Tayyeep Bin Ardogan. Reports indicate Bin Ardogan is a 28-year-old citizen of the Middle Eastern country Qatar.”
But Serrano later deleted that tweet, and posted this follow-up: “SB police clarifying that 2nd name was not released by them. Appears now to be a hoax. We are disregarding.”
A man who identified himself as Farook’s father told the New York Daily News he had not seen his some in some time.
“I haven’t heard anything. He worked in a county office,” Farook’s father said . “He’s married and has a kid. We’re estranged because my wife got the divorce, and they are together. She doesn’t want to see me.”
Farook said his son worked as a health technician inspecting restaurants and hotels.
“He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.”
Riverside police dispatchers broadcast a general advisory earlier in the day indicating the suspects were wearing body armor and carrying AK-47-type weapons. Pipe bombs were thrown at officers as they pursued the getaway vehicle from Redlands back to San Bernardino.
The first 911 calls came in just after 2:00 p.m. EST.
“Obviously, at minimum, we have a domestic terrorist-type situation that occurred here. They came prepared to do what they did as if they were on a mission,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters.
David Bowdich, the assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, was more cautious.
“It is a possibility, but we don’t know that. We will go where the evidence takes us. It’s possible it goes down that route; it’s possible that it does not.”
A federal law enforcement official told the Los Angeles Times one of the suspects may have angrily left a holiday party at the building and came back with “one or two” others before opening fire. The conference room where the shooting took place had been rented to a heath-care provider for its annual event.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene and aided in the destruction of a suspicious device left in the building. SWAT teams also cleared the complex, which employs roughly 670.
At least seven victims were taken to the nearest hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, spokeswoman Briana Pastorino told the Los Angeles Times.
“It was so scary and chaotic. Somebody came running in here yelling there was a shooter,” said Tamelle Levin, who works next-door to the center at J&S Paper, the Daily Beast reported. “I had my music on so I didn’t even hear him at first. It’s better now with the police and SWAT teams all over but we can’t move. We can’t go or come. It’s blocked for up to two miles, we hear. We don’t know what’s going on. It’s crazy.”
All San Bernardino public buildings, court houses and a nearby golf club were placed on lockdown.
The Inland Regional Center is one of 21 facilities serving people with developmental disabilities, said Nancy Lungren, spokeswoman for the California Department of Developmental Services, Fox News reported. The state-run center specializes in providing assistance to individuals with autism.
“I don’t even understand why they would target these individuals,” Marybeth Feild, the center’s CEO, told the Los Angeles Times. “This is very bizarre. I don’t know why anybody would want to hurt people who provide disability services.”
President Obama was informed of the shooting and commented on it during an interview with CBS News.
“We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world, and there’s some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don’t happen as frequently, common-sense gun safety laws, stronger background checks,” Obama said. “My hope is that we’re able to contain this particular shooting and we don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal.”
San Bernardino is located roughly 60 miles east of Los Angeles and has a population of roughly 210,000 people.
This is a developing story…