The site of a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, is a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities that had just held a holiday party a day before the shots rang out.
Details about the shooting were still sketchy — including how many victims and how many suspects were involved — but officials confirmed to NBC News that it took place at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
At least 14 people were killed and others 14 others were wounded at the shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, police said.
Keith Nelson, vice president for the Inland Regional Center board of trustees, said he was told the shooting took place at a conference center being used by an outside group.
Police did not confirm where the shooting took place, but said it was at one location.
The two-story building where community events are held contains staff on the second story, but none on the first, he said.
“That building, if it’s used for a community event, the doors are open. So it’s not like buildings one and two, which are locked and has security,” he said.
The center provides housing and work programs, and therapy and social services to more than 30,000 people with developmental disabilities, Nelson said. It has a little more than 550 employees, he said.
Nelson said as of the latest information he’s received, all staff were accounted for. Nelson said the center would provide crisis counseling for clients and staff and would look at security there in the aftermath of the shootings.
The facility is run by the state, and offers specific programs designed for four different age groups: 0 to 3-years-old; 3 to 15; 16 to 22; 23 to 59; and adults over 60.
Judy Mark, secretary of the Board of Disability Rights for Northern California, told NBC News that both clients and social service workers come to the IRC, which is the largest of 21 non-profit agencies that work with the state of California catering to people who have developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy.
“You will see clients in and out for meetings,” she said. “There are support groups. Children who are between the ages of 2 and 3 years old go there to get diagnosed with a disability.”
IRC’s website was down Wednesday, presumably overcome with traffic. But according to its Facebook page, its mission is to coordinate “with generic services to normalize the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families by working to include them in the everyday routines and life rhythms of the community and by facilitating needed supports for them.”
In a cheery Facebook post on Tuesday, the IRC shared a photo of a smiling boy in front of a Christmas tree, being hugged by Santa
Possible Suspect Named In Shootings That Killed 14, Wounded 17 In San Bernardino
Fourteen people were confirmed killed and 17 more wounded in a mass shooting at a San Bernardino community social services building.
“We do have some preliminary numbers of upwards of 14 people that are dead and upwards of 14 people that are injured,” said Chief Jarrod Burguan of San Bernardino Police. The number of injured was later upped to 17.
At least 10 of the injured are reportedly in critical condition.
CBS News confirms one of the suspects is named Syed Farook, an American citizen. One of the other suspects is reportedly his brother. The female’s relationship to either man is unknown.
The Daily Beast said Farook was married and had one child.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Farook was a business taxes representative for the California State Board of Equalization. He is a 2003 graduate La Sierra High School. The report also said Farook recently studied finance at California State University Fullerton until 2013.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said a tip led officers to a home in Redlands. He said officers were watching that house when a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle appeared nearby. Police gave chase and those suspects — reportedly clad in “assault-style gear” — drove back to the area where the original crime scene took place. An officer-involved shooting took place where the two suspects — one man and one woman — were killed.
The shooting was first reported at about 10:59 a.m. at the Inland Regional Center, 1365 South Waterman Avenue. The gunfire erupted in a conference room where the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health was holding a banquet, said Maybeth Field, president and CEO of the social services center. She said the building houses at least 25 employees as well as a library and conference center.
Authorities were still clearing the “massive facility” as of 2:15 p.m., Burguan said.
“We do not have any identification on who those suspects are, we do not have any motive for the shooting at this point,” said Burguan. “The only information I have at this point is they came prepared to do what they did and that they were on a mission.”
He added it’s believed the suspects — who were armed with long guns, not handguns — had fled, possibly in a dark-colored SUV.
Around 3:15 p.m. there was a report of a brief chase between law enforcement and possible suspects. Officers pointed their guns at the vehicle as it stopped not from the crime scene.
Sky9’s Stu Mundel reported that a “man was deceased” next to the vehicle. The vehicle was riddled with bullets.
At 3:35 p.m., Mundel listened to scanner traffic and reported that “all suspects” were accounted for; by 4:30 p.m. officials said one suspect was dead and another was at large.
An officer was reported down but apparently that officer only suffered a graze wound, according to reports from the scene.
SWAT officers made a methodical search house-by-house about five blocks from where police and the suspects exchanged gunfire.
A federal law enforcement official said that there were two assault weapons found in the suspects’ SUV — AR15 style rifles. There were also two pistols found in the SUV. Investigators are tracing the weapons to determine if they were legally purchased, where, when and by whom.
Officials said both of the dead suspects were dressed in tactical clothing and each had multiple magazines of ammunition attached to the military style clothing that they were wearing.
He also said during a scan of the social services center, at least one suspicious device was found. It was unclear if it was an explosive device.
During the chase, a piece of metal pipe was also thrown from the vehicle. Officials said that device did not turn out to be an explosive. A device found at the scene was being tested and analyzed by bomb techs, authorities said.
While no motive for the shooting was immediately known, FBI Asst. Director David Bowdich told reporters, “I will tell you right now, we do not know if this is a terrorist incident.”
People waiting to be reunited with loved ones who were at or working in the Inland Regional Center should go to the Hernandez Center at 3rd St. and Sierra Way, where police will meet with them.
Patients have been taken to several local hospitals, including Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, St. Bernardine Medical Center and Loma Linda University Medical Center. Uninjured workers were shuttled to a church in Colton.
Brown issued the following statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and everyone affected by the brutal attack. California will spare no effort in bringing these killers to justice.”
Hundreds of people with their hands raised were seen by Chopper 9 being evacuated from the building. Many were escorted to the San Bernardino Public Golf Course across the street.
The first text read: “Dad shooting at my work, shot people in office. Waiting for cops to catch him. Pray for us.”
The father told Cruz he texted back to his daughter, “Hide find a good spot hide now.”
Holly texted back: “I am but we are locked in an office. Cops SWAT helicopter, everything here.”
Another woman who identified herself as Monique said she received a text from her sister Gina, who was inside the building, that read: “There’s a shoot out at my work I’m scared.”
Paul Lacroix, whose son Garrett works inside the Inland Resource Center, said he told his son to hunker down, turn his cell phone off and to not make any noise.
“It’s just not good,” Lacroix said of the situation. “It’s something that we’re starting to learn to have to live with. We just have to learn to take better stands for what we’re doing.”
On speaker phone, Garrett Lacroix said that people inside the building were shook up and were being given water bottles.
“The fire alarm went off, but then someone started shouting in the halls there was a possible bomb so we were all told to get back into our office. Eventually we saw officers with vests and automatic weapons so we retreated to our room,” Garrett Lacroix said.
Garrett said a message over the intercom later instructed them to exit with their hands in the air and nothing in them.
Mark Scroggins was waiting outside the building, waiting for word of his daughter, who works inside.
“This is crazy. There’s too many shootings. too many bad things going on out here. You hear about it, but this is insane. This is crazy,” he said.
Authorities advised all motorists to stay away from the area.
The Inland Regional Center is a sprawling three-story center serving people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The non-profit private agency, whose site crashed due to traffic due to news of the shooting, employs nearly 700 people and serves more than 30,000 residents with developmental disabilities for ages ranging from infants to seniors 60 years and older, according to the center’s Facebook page.
The agency had just celebrated with a holiday party the day before.
Several other local and federal agencies were also at the scene to assist San Bernardino Police in the incident.
One woman at the scene said she was not waiting on anyone inside the Inland Regional Center, but on her children at the nearby Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy, a charter school.
“I actually have kids at the school on the next block, and they’re on lockdown,” she said. “We can’t get them, they can’t come out. I tried going over there, but they won’t let me go.”
San Bernardino City Unified School District officials said all its schools and offices were placed on full lockdown, but that each campus was scheduled to dismiss student on time. Burguan said that federal and public buildings have also been locked down.
“As far as people in the area, we’re doing everything we can to keep this area safe. We are addressing other facilities in the area we think may be similar, but we don’t have any other information or any credible threats to any other facilities at this point,” Burguan said. “Obviously we are all on a heightened sense of alert. We would ask the public that they be on a heightened sense of alert, that they’re watching out for those things and if they come across information, contact us and let us investigate.”
Search warrants were reportedly being served at a home in Redlands allegedly connected to one of the suspects.
Around 5:10 p.m., a spokeswoman for Loma Linda Medical Center said five adults were brought to that facility — two were critical, but stable, two were in fair condition and one was still being assessed. Earlier in the day, around 2:30 p.m., she said the center also received a bomb threat which officials believed was credible.
During the bomb threat, spokeswoman Briana Pastorino said classes were canceled and students were urged to leave the campus.