SAN BERNARDINO – A man and woman were killed in a shootout with police on Wednesday while another man was detained as a possible third suspect in a mass shooting in which several people were struck, including 14 who were killed.
Police have identified the two as 28-year-old Syed Farook and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik.
Questions remained early into the night as various law enforcement agencies, including San Bernardino Police and county sheriff’s investigators, along with the FBI and ATF, continued to seek answers into a morning mass shooting that left 14 dead and 17 injured.
“I can tell you this,” said San Bernardino Chief of Police Jarrod Burguan, in the first of two press conferences before 6 p.m. “They came dressed for action.”
A barrage of major media descended upon San Bernardino after learning of the shooting, which took place just before 11 a.m. It occurred at the Inland Regional Center, a county office set aside as a social agency that serves mentally impaired patients.
It was “holiday party,” according to Burguan, who could not yet offer any motive for the attacks. Nor could he, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, or FBI representative David Bowdich yet term the attack as an act of terrorism.
Up to three gunmen were said to have participated in the attack, though the third suspect who was detained, was yet to be termed as a shooting suspect, said Burguan. The attackers, armed with “long gun,” had entered the IRC building, which is card coded, and went straight to a banquet room where the party was taking place. Farook was reportedly an employee at the office, and had been there earlier that day.
The IRC employs several hundred people, all of whom were eventually evacuated according to one worker, Linda Perez, who said “her hands were up.” At that point, law enforcement had no idea which people were suspects.
A break in the pursuit of the suspects came when a residence in nearby Redlands, 80 Center Street, was located. The suspects’ vehicle, described as a dark SUV which was seen leaving the IRC, was spotted in Redlands and pursued into San Bernardino near the site of the shooting.
At San Bernardino Avenue and Richardson, less than two miles from the IRC, the suspects tossed small pipe bombs out of their vehicle. At that point, a gun battle ensued, leaving both suspects dead and a San Bernardino police officer wounded.
Reports are that the officer did not suffer from life-threatening injuries.
Police initiated a lockdown of area schools, one that continued into the darkness of the night, mainly due to a continued outstanding suspect.
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