Everett Rosenfeld, CNBC, December 2, 2015
Multiple attackers opened fire at a social services facility in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday, and at least 14 people were killed, officials said.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan announced the preliminary toll, adding that at least 14 more were sent to area hospitals for injuries related to gunshots, in an afternoon news conference. Authorities emphasized they did not yet have identifying information for the attackers, nor did they know of a motive.
Earlier, a spokeswoman for the police told Reuters it appeared that multiple shooters had attacked in “military style” attire. Reports first surfaced around 11:15 a.m. PT of a shooting near the Inland Regional Center.
Burguan said the shooters were armed with long guns–not hand guns–and that preliminary information indicates they were prepared for the attack.
Marybeth Feild, the president and CEO of the Inland Regional Center said the focus is on a building that houses at least 25 employees as well as a library and conference center.
“The incident is in the conference area” that an outside group was renting Wednesday, she said, adding that she was not at the center–which serves residents of San Bernardino and Riverside with developmental disabilities–and did not know at the time what outside group had rented the center. Feild said, however, that people served by the center also would have been in the building.
Lavinia Johnson, the center’s executive director, told Reuters that a county personnel holiday party, possibly for the department of health, had been scheduled at the conference area.
A police spokeswoman told Reuters the center had been hosting an event when more than one gunman burst into the room and began firing.
Police entered the facility and reportedly found a suspicious device, NBC News reported. The officers then pulled back as a bomb squad was sent in with a robot to check the device, NBC said.
The Los Angeles Times, citing Cervantes, reported that suspects were heavily armed and may have been wearing body armor. The LA Times later reported, citing sources, that police were searching for a black SUV that fled the scene. Officials have gone on the alert for a such a vehicle and the LAPD counter terrorism unit is monitoring the situation.
[Editor’s Note: The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that a police broadcast described the suspects as “male and of Middle Eastern origin.”]