San Bernardino Shooting

A law enforcement officer stands guard at the police line near a home being investigated by police. Fourteen people were killed when suspects opened fired at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Richard A. Serrano, Paloma Esquivel and Richard Winton
December 2, 2015

Dressed in black masks and tactical gear, armed with long guns and pistols, they entered a holiday party for county health workers in San Bernardino as it was in full swing. Before they fled, they had killed 14 people and wounded 17 others.

Four hours later, as fearful residents were ordered to stay home and scores of officers swarmed the streets, authorities chased a black SUV carrying two suspects from a home in the nearby city of Redlands. As TV news stations broadcast live overhead, the chase spilled back onto San Bernardino’s streets, where authorities and the suspects traded gunfire.

When it was over, a man and woman connected to the assault were dead. One body lay in the street, blood pooling. Another was recovered from the vehicle. A police officer also was wounded in the firefight but is expected to survive.

Late Wednesday night, San Bernardino police Chief Jarrod Burguan identified the people killed in the gun battle with police as Syed Rizwan Farook, a 28-year-old American citizen, and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik. Police did not know where Malik was born or where she had lived.

Burguan said police are “reasonably confident” that Farook and Malik, who may have been married or engaged, were the same two people who opened fire at the holiday party Wednesday morning.

Farook, who had worked for the county health department for five years, left the party “under some circumstances that were described as angry.”

While federal sources have told The Times that Farook left the party after an altercation, investigators said Wednesday night that the motive for the mass shooting was unclear.

“Is this a terrorist incident? We do not know,” said David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office. He later said that terrorism had not been ruled out as a motive.
Police storm Inland Regional Center

Public records show that a Syed Farook was employed by the San Bernardino County Health Department as an environmental health specialist, but it was not clear whether that was the same person involved in the shooting. The party was a gathering of employees of the health department.

Farhan Khan, who was identified as Farook’s brother-in-law, struggled to explain the tragic shooting during a news conference held by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Anaheim late Wednesday.

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

A third person was detained in the area where the pursuit ended, but authorities said they had not connected that person to the shooting. During the news conference, Burguan said police believe there were only two shooters.

A federal law enforcement source told The Times that the suspects hurled what were believed to be pipe bombs at police during the vehicle pursuit. Burguan said police recovered one device, but it turned out not to be an explosive.

Burguan said police also discovered a device at the scene of the shooting that might have been an explosive, and authorities were working late into the night to dispose of it. Several items of concern were also located inside the SUV involved in the pursuit, and investigators were trying to determine whether any of those items were explosive.

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