On Wednesday, Dec. 2, the nation was rocked by yet another tragic mass shooting, this time in San Bernardino, Calif. The horrific incident resulted in 14 lives lost and left endless questions, many of which are still being answered.
Here’s what we know so far:
The Incident and Its Aftermath
At around 11 a.m. local time, two heavily armed shooters entered the Inland Regional Center and opened fire. They were armed with .223-caliber assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns. One of the shooters was a county employee who had attended the county public health holiday gathering at the facility earlier in the morning. He then left and returned with his wife and weapons shortly after.
“There had to be some degree of planning that went into this,” Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said during a press conference that same day. “I don’t think they just ran home and put on these tactical clothes. We have not ruled out terrorism.”
Those who heard shots in the building immediately hid; it took hours for officials to confirm that the building was, in fact, safe. Around 300 officers responded to the call for the initial active shooter, Burguan told the press on Thursday.
After the shooting, the suspects fled via a rented black sport utility vehicle. They were later involved in a shootout with 23 police officers. The two suspects were shot and killed, and a third person who fled the scene was taken into custody. It was later clarified that the person arrested was not involved in the shooting but was detained on an unrelated outstanding misdemeanor charge. Police do not believe there are any other suspects at large at this time. One police officer was shot in the leg during the shootout and is being treated in the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, while another officer sustained cuts to his leg.
The deceased shooters were found in their car with 65 to 75 rounds from their rifles. They also had more than 1,400 .223 caliber rounds and 200 9 mm rounds surrounding them. Three pipe bombs combined into one large bomb with a remote control device were also found at the Inland Regional Center. The device was not detonated, and it is unclear if it failed to go off or was not activated.
After the shooting, police searched a home in the nearby city of Redlands that had been rented by the suspects. Inside, police found 12 pipe bomb devices, other materials to produce additional bombs, 2,000 9 mm rounds, and 2,500 .223 rounds.
The Inland Regional Center is a nonprofit agency that assists the developmentally disabled and their families. According to its Facebook page, the center has 670 staff members and has served more than 30,200 people.
The shooting took place at the southernmost building on the property, and the shooters used the eastside doors to enter, Chief Burguan told the press.
The San Bernardino County Police Department identified the two suspects as 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook, a county employee, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27. Malik was in the country on a K-1 visa. Farook had been working for the county as an environmental inspector for five years and in 2013 went on the hajj, making multiple trips to Saudi Arabia, an official told the New York Times. He returned in July 2014. The couple had a 6-month-old daughter.
All four of the guns they used were all legally purchased and had the proper permits, Chief Burguan said.
“We do not yet know the motive,” David Bowdich of the FBI told the press. “There was obviously a mission here. We do not know why.”
The majority of the shooting took place in the room where the holiday gathering happened, authorities said. There have been 14 confirmed fatalities, and the police have reported 21 wounded.
A candlelight vigil is planned in San Bernardino for the night of Thursday, Dec. 3.
Updates to follow.
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