Police are serving a search warrant on a home in Redlands, Calif., in connection with the deadly shooting at a social services facility in neighboring San Bernardino.
City spokesman Carl Baker says Redlands police are assisting San Bernardino police in the search connected to the Wednesday morning shooting that killed at least 14 people and wounded more than a dozen others.
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An Associated Press reporter watched as a half-dozen vehicles carrying helmeted police drove into the area. One officer carrying an assault rifle ordered reporters to clear the area, and an armored vehicle parked outside a row of homes.
The action followed a gunbattle between occupants of an SUV and San Bernardino police not far from the original shooting scene.
As many as three assailants attacked a gathering inside a San Bernardino office building Wednesday morning, killing at least 14 people and wounding 17 others, according to law enforcement officials.
The shooters, who carried long guns and wore masks and camouflage clothing, opened fire on a holiday party being held by county employees, federal law enforcement sources and a witness told the Los Angeles Times.
The shooting took place in a large conference room on the grounds of the Inland Regional Center, which serves people with developmental disabilities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
A black sport-utility vehicle was seen fleeing from the office complex where the shooting occurred. Shortly before 3 p.m. Pacific time, police began pursuing a black SUV in San Bernardino, though it was not immediately clear whether the car chase was linked to the attack.
Authorities confirmed that a suspect had been shot in connection with the car chase but it remained unclear if the pursuit was linked to the attack.
TV footage showed dozens of heavily armed police officers approaching the SUV, and officers in tactical gear could be seen stalking through a San Bernardino neighborhood.
A body could be seen lying in the street near the vehicle. Blood was pooling nearby and a weapon was lying just feet away.
Marybeth Feild, the center’s board president and CEO, said the San Bernardino County Public Health Department rented the conference room and they were hosting a banquet.
The room, which holds as many as 200 people, was decorated for a holiday party, according to Feild.
The motive for the attack remains unclear.
“Is this a terrorist incident? We do not know,” said David Bowdich, the assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Federal law enforcement sources, who requested anonymity because the investigation is active and ongoing, told the Times that the group holding the party, rather than the center, may have been targeted.
The shooting rippled across San Bernardino, which is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. All county schools, as well as city government buildings and courthouses, were on lock down as police continued to search for the assailants. School officials, however, stressed that students were safe and would be dismissed on the regular schedule.
During a news briefing, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said information about the party was “preliminary” and declined to comment on a motive for the shooting.
“We have no information at this point to indicate that this is terrorist related, in the traditional sense that people may be thinking,” Burguan said. “Obviously, at a minimum, we have a domestic terrorist-type situation that occurred here.”
The San Bernardino Fire Department said the shooting took place on Waterman Avenue, near Orange Show Road.
Hundreds of people were on the grounds at the time of the attack, Burguan said.
Carlos Ortiz’s son Kevin Ortiz was shot twice in the leg and once in the shoulder.
The father, 54, was among a dozen people holding hands in a prayer circle outside Arrowhead Regional Medical Center where numerous victims were taken.
“Kevin called me immediately after he got shot and said, ‘I’ve been shot three times dad. I’m in pain. Don’t worry. There’s a policeman with me.’”
Seconds later the phone call ended.
Ortiz' family was not surprised he had found the ability to make these crucial phone calls given what happened.
“That’s Kevin, he’s a fighter,” his brother David Ortiz said. “Through him, the Ortizes get to shine again.”
Loma Linda University Medical Center, the closest hospital to the shooting scene, is treating seven patients who were wounded in the shooting, according to Briana Pastorino, a hospital spokeswoman.
Tom Brown said he and many other employees and customers at the nearby San Bernardino Golf Club were on lockdown Wednesday.
“We’re not allowing anyone on the golf course. We got a big helicopter sitting in the middle of the No. 1 fairway,” Brown told the Times. “We’re several hundred yards away from the area. We can see fire and SWAT from here, but we’re not allowed to go any farther.”
Brown’s coworker told him she heard gunshots nearby.
Meanwhile, the bus company that provides transportation for San Bernardino City Unified School District is offering its buses to transport victims and witnesses of the shooting, said district spokeswoman Linda Berdere.
Fred Henning was holed up inside the paralegal’s office where he works with his wife, about a block from the scene of the shooting. Henning said they were standing outside as helicopters swooped overhead, but fled back into the building as police began to flood the area.
“We just came inside because it could be stray bullets, who knows?” Henning said. “We did mill around outside for a while, but we decided the better plan was to stay in. We’re stranded in here. … We’re in an office building.”
The block where the shooting took place is home to a number of businesses, Henning said, including a three-building complex that houses his office and roughly 140 others. The street has been shut down.
“I see squad cars like you won’t believe,” Henning said.
Lynn Spicer, an employee at West Tech/Webcop Interactive Systems which is inside of a nearby office building, said police are not allowing anyone to leave the area.
“I just heard sirens all day, and I went out and I saw nothing but massive cops were out,” Spicer said. “Our boss wants us to go home, but they won’t let us leave.”
President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting and asked to be updated as the situation develops.
The president was being interviewed by CBS on Wednesday morning when news of the attack broke, and said the repeated occurrence of mass shootings shows the need for stricter gun laws in the U.S.
“Obviously our hearts go out to the victims and the families,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview. “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.”
With nearly 670 employees, the Inland Regional Center serves those with developmental disabilities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to the center’s Facebook page.
The center has provided services to more than 30,200 people with developmental disabilities and their families for at least 40 years. The nonprofit organization serves children, adults and seniors.
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