San Bernardino, California — A mass shooting, involving so far three suspects –a man and a women shot down by police, and a third one that allegedly got away– left 14 people dead and 17 wounded.

One police officer got injured in the gunfight that took place at a California services agency in San Bernardino, 60 miles east of Los Angeles. However, authorities reported that his life isn’t in danger. They also reported that a third person is in custody, although they aren’t sure of its involvement in the case, according to the Police Chief Jarrod Burguan.

San Bernardino police officers in SWAT gear securing the place after the shooting. Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
San Bernardino police officers in SWAT gear securing the place after the shooting. Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The two attackers opened fire during a holiday party for county employees of the center. Law enforcement officials, five hours after the shooting, searched a residential neighbourhood near the shooting place where they found what it appeared to be the suspect’s vehicle, said Sgt. Vicki Cervantes, a spokeswoman from San Bernardino Police, during a news conference.

After finding a dark SUV matching a previous description given by police, the officials started an exchange of gunfire with the suspects, killing both of them. According to information given to the police before the shooting, somebody left the party after having a sort of incident, and presumably returned with one or two armed companions.

Burguan added that their preliminary information says that the suspects came prepared, dressed and equipped to start the shooting spree. Also, he reported that attackers had long guns, instead of handguns, although they don’t have yet the specific information on the type of weapons used.

“Somebody did leave, there was some type of dispute or something when somebody left that party,” Burguan said in the news conference. “But we have no idea if those are the people that came back.”

Burguan stated that they don’t know what was the motive to start the shooting spree, which he labeled as an “act of domestic terrorism”, according to The New York Times. The event took place at 11 a.m. on the campus of the Inland Regional Center, an agency that helps people that are developmentally disabled.

The FBI has reached to the conclusion that one of the gunmen was an employee of the center, although they don’t know for sure if the shooting qualifies as a terrorist attack, or as workplace violence case. Also, a local law enforcement official confirmed that a suspected pipe bomb, property of one of the suspects, was found, and that multiple devices were thrown out from the SUV during the chase.

David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s LA field office, stated at the news conference that they don’t have an answer to the question asking whether this was or wasn’t a terrorist act, although he acknowledges that it could be possible.

An overwhelming taking over the San Bernardino County

Marybeth Feild, president of the Inland Regional Center’s board of directors, stated that what happened it’s devastating, as she says that it’s going to be hard to recover from the situation. “Why would anyone target a social service center?” Feild asks herself.

On the other hand, San Bernardino County reported in a statement that they have taken precautions to protect the citizens and employees of their county, by sending them home and increasing the security in several of its facilities.

“Words can’t describe how saddened and horrified we are about this tragedy,” the county said in the statement, according to The Washington Post.

Photo: The Huffington Post.
People being evacuated from the Inland Regional Center. Photo: The Huffington Post.

Obama’s reaction to another mass shooting in the country

In an interview with CBS News Norah O’Donnell, that took place at the White House, President Obama stated that, although it is too soon to draw out conclusions, the shooting provides evidence and supports the need for background checks on gun buyers.

Obama also noted that those people who can’t get into an airplane due to the no-fly list, is allowed to walk into a store and buy a gun, as he remarks that there is nothing we can currently do about it.

Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, this is the deadliest U.S. episode of gun violence –27 people, included the gunman, were dead on the Connecticut mass shooting.

Source: The Washington Post