At least 14 dead in California mass shooting

03 Dec 2015 / 12:40 H.

SAN BERNARDINO, United States: At least 14 people were killed in a shooting at a holiday party in California on Wednesday, triggering a massive manhunt which ended when police shot dead two heavily armed suspects – a man and a woman – on a quiet residential street.
San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan said a third suspect had been detained, but it was unclear whether that person was linked to the shooting, which took place at a center in the city for those with developmental disabilities just before lunch time.
The attack 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 urged Congress to pass tougher gun control measures.
Burguan said authorities were looking at reports that the attack might be linked to a disgruntled employee.
The carnage took place during a holiday event at the Inland Regional Center, a huge facility that employs several hundred people.
"There was some type of dispute or something when somebody left the party, but we have no idea if those are the people that came back," he said, adding that investigators were looking at the possibility that the suspects had left behind an explosive device.
The attackers were dressed in military-style gear and carried assault weapons as they burst into the auditorium where the killings took place.
David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said authorities were not ruling out terrorism.
"I'm still not willing to say we know that for sure," he told reporters. "We are definitely making some movements that it is a possibility."
Investigators in the early evening raided an apartment complex in the nearby town of Redlands, where the suspects were seen before the police chase.
Beyond the 14 dead, the attack also left at least 17 people wounded.
Following the shootout with police, the body of one of the suspects could be seen lying next their bullet-riddled black SUV. The slain suspects were armed with assault rifles and handguns.
Police swarmed the residential neighborhood with officers, guns drawn, going door to door and urging residents to stay in their homes with doors locked.

Deadliest since Sandy Hook
A massive manhunt was launched for the suspects after the late-morning shooting at the Inland Regional Center, which is about an hour's drive east of Los Angeles.
It was the country's deadliest shooting since Dec 14, 2012, when a young man killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Burguan told reporters the attackers "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."
Brandon Hunt, who works at Inland Regional Center, said a banquet for county personnel was being held at the auditorium.
Lavinia Johnson, the center's executive director, said her staff hid and waited inside the building after the shooting to be evacuated by police.
"It was a very traumatic event for us," she told CNN.
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."

'Stop gun violence'
Obama, who just last week made a plea for action on gun control after three people were killed at a family planning center in Colorado, voiced his anger once more.
"The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world," he told CBS News.
"There are some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don't happen as frequently."
The Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton tweeted: "I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now."
Wednesday's shooting, which came less than a week after a gunman killed three people at a family planning center in Colorado, was certain to further stoke the bitter debate about gun control in the United States.
In October, a gunman killed nine people at a community college in Oregon before turning the gun on himself.
According to the site Mass Shooting Tracker, the latest attack brings to 352 the number of mass shootings in the United States so far this year. A mass shooting is defined as four or more people shot in one incident. – AFP

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