At Least 14 Dead in US in California Mass Shooting + VIDEO

Thu Dec 3, 2015 09:22:18

As many as three gunmen opened fire inside a center for the disabled in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding 14 others before fleeing the scene, officials said.

Police said a massive manhunt was underway for the suspects who reportedly fled in a dark SUV after the late morning shooting at the Inland Regional Center shooting in the city, which is about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles.

The deadly incident was the latest in a series of mass shootings in the United States, a spiral of violence that has exasperated President Barack Obama, who once again called on Congress to pass tougher gun control measures.

San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters the shooters were armed with long guns and “came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission.”

He said that while the motive and identities of the attackers were not yet known, “at a minimum, we have a domestic terrorist type situation that occurred here.”

“The preliminary number we have right now is that there are 14 people that are deceased. And our count is another 14 people that have been taken to various hospitals for significant injuries,” Burguan said.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said courts and local city and county buildings in the region had been placed on lockdown, and police presence had been boosted at area schools as the manhunt for the suspects continued.

Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, as police warned residents away.

The shooting took place inside a packed auditorium at the Inland Regional Center, a huge facility that employs several hundred people and assists people with developmental disabilities.

Brandon Hunt, who works at the center, said a banquet for county personnel was being held at the auditorium.

Lavinia Johnson, the center’s executive director, told CNN that her staff were waiting to be evacuated from the site.

“Our staff are just patiently waiting right now. It was a very traumatic event for us. And we’re just waiting to be evacuated to another location.”

Officials said police were going through the building room by room and checking reports of a suspicious package that may have been left by the gunmen.

Family members of employees at the site rushed to the area on hearing of the shooting and were seen frantically trying to get information about their loves ones.

“It was an hour until I learned my daughter was OK,” said Olivia Navarro, 63. “She was frightened when I spoke to her but she seemed calm.” AFP reported.