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Live updates: San Bernardino shooting

December 3, 2015

Gun-wielding assailants opened fire on a holiday party Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 people and injuring 17 others. Two suspects — a couple identified as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed in a shootout with police hours after the attack. Officials have not yet determined a motive.

  • Lindsey Bever
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Over on The Fix, Chris Cillizza wrote that “the Daily News’s dismissal of Republican politicians’ calls for prayers in the wake of the mass shooting … echoes a sentiment that emerged on Twitter in the wake of the incident Wednesday afternoon.”

As the Atlantic’s Emma Green wrote:

There’s a clear claim being made here, and one with an edge: Democrats care about doing something and taking action while Republicans waste time offering meaningless prayers. These two reactions, policy-making and praying, are portrayed as mutually exclusive, coming from totally contrasting worldviews.

The Huffington Post was among those pushing against the insignificance of thoughts and prayers, calling them “useless.”

“Another Mass Shooting, Another Deluge Of Tweeted Prayers,” read its headline. The subhead: “Seems to have been an ineffective strategy so far.”

On Wonkblog, Roberto Ferdman wrote about “the liberal outrage over NRA-backed politicians, in this one-of-a-kind Tweetstorm” — the Tweetstorm belonging to Igor Volsky of left-leaning Think Progress.

Volsky, Ferdman wrote, “seized the opportunity, first by criticizing politicians for not supporting stricter gun legislation and instead offering only words of support, then by calling politicians out by responding to their sympathetic tweets with details about the money their campaigns have received from the NRA.”

  • Lindsey Bever
  • ·

Here is the cover of this morning’s San Bernardino Sun:

  • Fred Barbash
  • ·

In a press conference at around 1:15 a.m. EST, San Bernardino police offered the most complete account yet of the deadly mass shooting that took 14 lives Wednesday, offering details about the alleged attackers and confirming that both are now dead after a shootout with police.

Police identified the attackers as Tashfeen Malik, 27, and Syed Rizwan Farook, 28. Farook is U.S. born, police said; they did not confirm Malik’s nationality. Though the two suspects had a relationship — girlfriend and boyfriend, or husband and wife — it was not yet clear what it was.

Farook was an environmental specialist in the San Bernardino County Public Health Department at the Inland Regional Center. He was employed there 5 years. After leaving a Christmas party or Christmas meeting — the same one he had attended in 2014 — after becoming angry, Farook returned with Malik. They were wearing tactical gear. They were armed with a total of four guns, including two assault rifles and two semiautomatic handguns. They stormed the event and opened fire, killing 14 and injuring 17.

“Based upon what we have seen and how they were equipped, there had to be some degree of planning that went into this,” said Chief Jarrod Burguan of the San Bernardino Police Department. “I don’t think they grabbed the guns and tactical gear on a spur-of-the-moment thing.”

Within four minutes, police were on the scene — within 15 minutes, the first of the victims was being treated at area hospitals, Burguan said. Farook and Malik also left three explosive devices of a pipe-bomb style design at the scene. These were safely detonated as police, looking for Farook, went to a residence in Redlands, Calif., listed in his name. There, they found the suspects in a car that had been seen at the scene of the shooting, and a car chase commenced. It ended with a shootout with police that included at least 20 officers in which both suspects were killed in their vehicle, the police chief told reporters.

“That was flat out heroic what they did,” Burguan said of the officers who tracked down Farook and Malik, noting that one officer had been injured.

Burguan said that, despite earlier reports, he was “reasonably confident” there were no other shooters involved. However, the motive for the attack was not known — Burguan refused to speculate, and would not rule out terrorism.

“We know when these types of things happen, there’s a lot of info that comes out on that first day,” Burguan said. ” … That info changes in days to follow.”

–Washington Post reporter Justin Wm. Moyer

  • Fred Barbash
  • ·

At a press conference around midnight EST, a brother-in-law of Syed Farook, the only suspect yet named in the San Bernardino attack, said he had spoken to Farook just a week ago.

“I cannot express how sad I am for what happened today,” Farhan Khan told reporters at a press conference at the Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Anaheim. “I am very sad to hear people lost their lives. I am in shock that something like this can happen.”

Khan’s presence at the presser was a bit startling. At the conference, CAIR offered assurances that the attack had nothing to do with Islam. But suddenly, Khan was barraged with questions from reporters about Farook, a man identified by the mainstream media less than an hour before, whom he knew personally. He was asked: Was Farook religious? Was he depressed?

“I have no idea,” Khan said. “Why would he do that? Why would he do something like this? I am in shock myself.”

To the consternation of the media, who wanted to know a lot more, CAIR quickly gave the podium back to its representatives and other speakers, saying Khan was not here to discuss the suspect.

“At this point I don’t want to say anything,” Khan said. “The reason I’m here is to talk to the victims and express for my family how sorry I am for what happened.” Of Farook, he added: “Don’t ask me how he is, what he is.”

–Washington Post report Justin Wm. Moyer

  • Fred Barbash
  • ·

A neighbor of Syed Farook in Corona, Calif., said that police came to her home Wednesday and asked her to call them if anyone arrived. So far, she hasn’t seen anyone at the house, and the driveway remains empty.

The neighbor, who asked not be named, said Farook and his wife moved in about a year ago, but she doesn’t know much about them. They have a daughter who is about 1 year old.

“They’re very quiet, not very friendly,” she said. “I only talked to them to say ‘Hello, how are you?’”

She said she was surprised to hear that Farook was named in connection with the shooting in San Bernardino.

“It’s somewhat unnerving to think that someone who lives next to you might be involved in that,” she said.

–Washington Post reporter Sarah Kaplan

  • Fred Barbash
  • ·

At a press conference at around 10:30 p.m. EST, the mayor of San Bernardino offered no additional details on who took the lives of fourteen people at Inland Regional Center. Instead, he offered something else: grim resilience in the face of senseless tragedy.

“Our city is suffering from the effects of those who decided to express themselves in a violent fashion,” Mayor Carey Davis said.

Davis, thanking all the agencies involved in the investigation, said residents should remain on alert, but that the situation was well-in-hand.

“I think our community needs to stay cautious,” he said. “… It’s also important not to panic.” He added: “All communities need to be on alert.”

Davis said police would handle the release of additional details as they became available during the investigation.

— Washington Post reporter Justin Wm. Moyer

  • Fred Barbash
  • ·

A senior U.S. law enforcement official has identified one male suspect in the San Bernardino shooting as Syed Farook, who records show once lived at an address that police searched after the shooting. The name had been circulated on social media and in other news outlets throughout the evening.

Public records show that a person by that name works for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health as a health inspector; the department hosted the holiday event Wednesday at the center.

— Washington Post reporter Justin Wm. Moyer

  • Victoria M. Walker
  • ·
  • Fred Barbash
  • ·

At the Hernandez Center on North Lugo Avenue, scores of workers who had been in the building where shooters killed more than a dozen people spent hours being interviewed by police. Throughout the afternoon, the grim process repeated itself: Busloads of witnesses arrived for questioning at the center. After police questioned them, they headed into the night to meet relieved family members amid the glare of TV lights.

Recounting the chaotic scene, Melinda Rivas, a social worker for the Inland Regional Center who works in the complex’s Building 2, said she and more than 40 others in her office were told to go to a conference room in Building 3.

This was after a woman yelled down the hall: “There’s a shooting!”

Rivas and her colleagues remained barricaded in the third-floor conference room for about 20 minutes. The room was above the auditorium where gunmen invaded a Christmas party and began firing randomly at revelers.

A SWAT team escorted them out. They were told to raise their hands.

“I didn’t really hear the gunfire,” Rivas said. “It sounded like a big, huge thump.” She said she and others learned about developments by using their cellphones.

“I called my kids,” Rivas said. “I told them: ‘There’s a shooting going on. Be safe.'” She later texted them: “I’m safe.”

Rivas said one young man in a bloody shirt recounted on her bus how he had hidden under a food table at the county public health department’s party. She heard from others that two gunmen wearing masks opened fire for reasons still unknown.

“This is one of those things I’ve often seen on the news, and now I was a part of it.”

Once outside, she saw articles of clothing and gurneys. “People were in a panic, screaming, yelling. It was almost like a bloody warpath.”

–Freelancer Martha Groves reported from San Bernardino

  • Fred Barbash
  • ·

Wiley S. Drake, chairman and founder of the Congressional Prayer Conference of Washington, D.C., said he spent hours inside the Hernandez Center with the families who had been in some way affected.

He comforted a woman whose female colleague was shot dead before her eyes. The distraught woman sat with her husband inside the center.

The friend who died had just said: “I just heard firecrackers.” The surviving woman looked “and then her friend was on the floor,” Drake said.

Drake, who also is affiliated with David’s Tent in Buena Park, which he referred to as a “praying tabernacle,” said he had gotten calls from almost all 50 states, from people who offered to pray for the victims.

Law enforcement authorities were keeping witnesses’ cars in quarantine for the time being.

–Freelancer Martha Groves reported from San Bernardino

  • Victoria M. Walker
  • ·
  • Elahe Izadi
  • ·

Two suspects died in a shootout involving multiple police officers following the incident at Inland Regional Center, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at an evening news conference.

Burguan said one suspect was male and the other was female. They were both dressed in “assault-style clothing” and armed with assault rifles and handguns, the chief said.

Police said investigators were monitoring a house in the nearby town of Redlands when they saw a vehicle “suspected of being involved” leaving the property, which they pursued. The shootout took place in San Bernardino, the chief added.

A third person “was seen running away” from the scene of the shootout, the chief said, and is now in custody. “We don’t know if that person was involved,” Burguan said.

  • Elahe Izadi
  • ·

Two people injured in the Inland Regional Center shooting are in critical yet stable condition, a spokeswoman for Loma Linda University Medical Center said hours after the shooting.

Another two patients are in fair condition, and one was still being assessed, she said, adding the hospital was not expecting to receive any additional patients.

  • Elahe Izadi
  • ·

San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis said in a statement his “community experienced loss and severe shock” and the shooting at the Inland Regional Center “has shaken the core of our community.”

“It is critical that in moments like these, our city unites in supporting the victims, the families, and the effort against crime in our city,” he said. “We will continue to utilize all safety resources available to the San Bernardino community to deal with this tragedy.”

Davis urged “residents, loved ones, and onlookers” to stay clear of the area as investigators continued working the case.

“I pray that our community will join hands in an effort to uplight and support those who suffered loss, fear, and shock today,” he said.

  • J. Freedom du Lac
  • ·

A local law enforcement official confirmed that ATF agents found what is believed to be a pipe bomb on one of the suspects.

The official said the FBI just took over the case.

— Ellen Nakashima

  • J. Freedom du Lac
  • ·

From the Associated Press:

Police are serving a search warrant on a home in Redlands, California, in connection with the deadly shooting at a social services facility in neighboring San Bernardino.

City spokesman Carl Baker says Redlands police are assisting San Bernardino police in the search connected to the Wednesday morning shooting that killed at least 14 people and wounded more than a dozen others.

An Associated Press reporter watched as a half-dozen vehicles carrying helmeted police drove into the area. One officer carrying an assault rifle ordered reporters to clear the area, and an armored vehicle parked outside a row of homes.

The action followed a gunbattle between occupants of an SUV and San Bernardino police not far from the original shooting scene.

  • Wesley Lowery
  • ·

Pastor Sherman Dumas, 34, was in a staff meeting at his church, Kingdom Culture Worship Center, about a mile away from the Inland Regional Center shooting, when one of his co-pastors gasped and threw a hand over her mouth. She had just gotten a text message about the shooting.

Dumas said he and his staff raced to the scene, getting as close as they could before police stopped them, and began praying.

“It was a frantic scene, people were very confused,” said Dumas, who began comforting family members who were arriving to see if their loved ones were in the building. “My heart was broken.”

Dumas, who has lived in San Bernardino for six years, said the city is no stranger to violence, but that he never would have imagined such a large mass shooting would occur so close to home.

“We’ve seen violence of this scale before on the news, and around the world,” he said. “But no one thinks it’s going to come to their city.”

  • Sarah Larimer
  • ·

An officer was injured when authorities who were investigating Wednesday’s shooting found an SUV that appears to match a description given by witnesses, Sgt. Vicki Cervantes, a San Bernardino police spokeswoman, told reporters.

During that encounter, shots were exchanged, she said. The officer was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t considered to be life threatening, Cervantes said.

Details on the suspects remained somewhat unclear after the press conference. Cervantes told reporters that one suspect had been hit, but that person’s condition was not announced. One suspect might still be at large, she said.

“It’s still a very active, fluid situation,” Cervantes said. “We don’t have a lot of answers yet.”

  • Niraj Chokshi
  • ·

Flights coming into San Bernardino International Airport are being rerouted as a result of the shooting that took place in a building nearby earlier on Wednesday, according to an airport official.

“There is a temporary flight restriction in place immediately west of the airport and that is impacting flights,” said Mark Gibbs, director of aviation at the airport.

While the airport isn’t closed, the flight restriction in effect since 1:30 p.m. local time has made it impossible for airplanes to land. Helicopters, however, can still come and go, Gibbs said.

The airport does not take in commercial aircraft, however. It traffics in business aviation and cargo flights, said Gibbs. It sees roughly 110 flights of all types on a daily basis.

  • Niraj Chokshi
  • ·

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) on Wednesday said she feels for the victims of the shooting and criticized Congress for failing to take action to slow the frequency of such acts.

“Today we add San Bernardino to the long list of communities that have fallen victim to a mass shooting, and my heart is with the victims and their families,” she said in a statement, also referring to Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

“When a convicted felon can walk into a gun show and buy an assault rifle, that’s a problem,” she said. “When an individual with a known mental illness can buy an assault rifle online, that’s a problem. When a terrorist who can’t board an airplane can buy an assault rifle in a gun store, that’s a problem.”

Feinstein chastised Congress as a whole for failing to require background checks on all firearms purchases due to its “debilitating fear” of crossing the gun lobby.

“Each time I see breaking news of yet another mass shooting, I feel it in the pit of my stomach,” she said. “Congress can’t stop every shooting, but we can help reduce their frequency.”

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