Crime & Justice

San Bernardino shooting: Hero cop, other first responders speak

Officials put up police tape in front of the builiding at the Inland Regional Center were 14 people were killed on December 7, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. A spokeswoman says the facility doesn't plan to reopen until at least January 2016.
Officials put up police tape in front of the builiding at the Inland Regional Center were 14 people were killed on December 7, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. A spokeswoman says the facility doesn't plan to reopen until at least January 2016.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Officials put up police tape in front of the builiding at the Inland Regional Center were 14 people were killed on December 7, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. A spokeswoman says the facility doesn't plan to reopen until at least January 2016.
John Galletta, a firearms instructor at Riverside Magnum Range, opens a door at the range on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Riverside, Calif. Galletta says Syed Farook, who opened fire on a gathering of his co-workers last week in San Bernardino, Calif., practiced with a rifle at the range before the attack.
Nick Ut/AP

Update 5:31 p.m. Cop who said he'd take a bullet before evacuees speaks to reporters with other first responders

In a video first published by KPCC, San Bernardino Sheriff's Detective Jorge Lozano is heard telling a group of nervous people being evacuated, "Try to relax, try to relax. I'll take a bullet before you do, that's for damn sure." He's since started a charity to benefit victims of the attack selling clothing with that now-famous quote. Lozano spoke with reporters at a Tuesday press conference, along with other San Bernardino first responders; find out more here.

KPCC staff

Update 3:36 p.m. IRC to reopen January at the earliest

The social service center in San Bernardino where husband Syed Rizwan Farook and wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people will not reopen until next year, raising concerns that some of the 30,000 people with developmental disabilities it serves might not receive needed treatment.

The Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino had hoped to reopen next week, but spokeswoman Leeza Hoyt said Tuesday that it was pushed back to sometime after Jan. 1.

Because many of the center's 600 employees work in the field, officials hope services won't be disrupted for too many people, Hoyt said. But she could not say for sure that no one would go without care.

The center offers in-home treatment and therapy to thousands of children with autism, epilepsy and other developmental disabilities.

"In our particular case, we don't have anything that's time-sensitive, I'm not in the middle of requesting service or authorization for a vendor," said Jess Block Nerren, whose 10-year-old son receives treatment for autism.

"But depending upon where someone is in that time frame, I imagine it could absolutely traumatically impact their lives," she added, noting the center provides treatment that would cost tens of thousands of dollars a year in some cases if paid for privately.

Hoyt said the center is temporarily relocating its administrative offices to ensure its employees and vendors continue to be paid while they work from the field.

She said authorities are keeping everyone out of the three-building complex while they investigate the attack last Wednesday.

When authorities allow people back into the buildings, they will require cleaning and repair, Hoyt said.

"There's been a fair amount of damage," she said. "I'm told there's broken glass and doors."

— AP

11:20 a.m.: Victims' bodies released

All but one of the fatal shooting victims' bodies have been released to their respective families, says San Bernardino Sheriff's Department spokesman Adam Cervantes.

— KPCC staff

11:00 a.m.: Couple practiced at shooting ranges before California attack 

Days before killing 14 people at a holiday party, Syed Farook practiced with a rifle during one of several recent visits to a Southern California shooting range, authorities said. Sometimes he was joined by his wife, his partner in the attack.

Farook visited Riverside Magnum Range on Nov. 29 and 30, according to an instructor at the range about 20 miles from the Inland Regional Center, where the couple opened fire on Farook's co-workers Dec. 2.

John Galletta said Monday that nothing was out of the ordinary about Farook's behavior but that Farook asked a range employee why his rifle might be smoking. He was told it was most likely because it was new.

Asked whether in hindsight he or others at the range should have been suspicious of Farook, Galletta said: "How are you able to determine what somebody's intents are?"

The FBI said Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, had long since embraced radical ideology.

"We have learned and believe that both subjects were radicalized and have been for quite some time," said David Bowdich, chief of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said at a news conference Monday.

"The question we're trying to get at is how did that happen and by whom and where did that happen?" he said. "And I will tell you right now we don't know those answers."

Authorities also disclosed that a year before the rampage, Farook's co-workers at the San Bernardino County health department underwent training on how to react to a workplace shooter in the same conference room where the couple opened fire last week.

It was not immediately clear whether Farook attended the session in late 2014, county spokeswoman Felisa Cardona said.

Two employees who survived the attack said colleagues reacted by trying to do as they had been trained — dropping under tables and staying quiet.

"Unfortunately, the room just didn't provide a whole lot of protection," said Corwin Porter, assistant county health director.

Hundreds gathered at a vigil honoring the victims Monday night at California State University, San Bernardino, just miles from the social service center where the attack took place. A bell pealed 14 times — once for each victim — and mourners lit white candles. The school was hit hard by the tragedy — five of the victims and Farook were alumni.

Farook, a 28-year-old restaurant inspector born in the U.S. to a Pakistani family, and Malik, a 29-year-old immigrant from Pakistan, attacked the holiday luncheon around the same time Malik pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook, authorities said. The Muslim couple were killed hours later in a gunbattle with police.

Authorities discovered 19 pipes in the couple's home in the neighboring city of Redlands that could be turned into bombs, Bowdich said. The FBI previously said it had found 12 pipe bombs.

Newly released emergency radio transmissions from the fast-moving tragedy show that police identified Farook as a suspect almost immediately, even though witnesses reported that the attackers wore black ski masks.

An unidentified police officer put out Farook's name because he had left the luncheon "out of the blue" 20 minutes before the shooting, "seemed nervous," and matched the description of one of the attackers, according to audio recordings posted by The Press-Enterprise newspaper of Riverside.

The two assault rifles used in the attack had been legally purchased by an old friend of Farook's, Enrique Marquez, authorities said, but they are still trying to determine how the couple got the weapons. Marquez has not been charged with a crime.

Porter, of the health department, said neither shooter spoke before firing.

"We weren't quite sure if it was an exercise the staff were throwing that they forgot to tell us about," he said, "but we all reacted instinctively and went under our tables."

Pritchard reported from Los Angeles. Contributing to this report were John Antczak, Sue Manning and Christine Armario in Los Angeles; and Brian Skoloff in Riverside, California.

—Amanda Lee Myers and Justin Pritchard, AP

Note: These posts have been updated.