US: At least 14 dead in California shooting

3rd Dec 2015
US: At least 14 dead in California shooting

NEW YORK (AA) – The suspects involved in the mass shooting that killed 14 people at a holiday party in a California community center have been identified, local media reported Thursday.

The Los Angeles Times named the attackers as Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. They were killed in a shootout with police. They may have been married or engaged, according to the newspaper.

Colleagues with the San Bernardino County health department who attended the banquet party described Farook as a quiet, polite, devout Muslim who had visited Saudi Arabia and returned with a wife he met online.

The newspaper quoted co-workers as saying he disappeared shortly before shooting began at the Inland Regional Center, where 17 were injured in the attack.

Two attackers in black masks and armed with assault rifles and handguns opened fire on the party at around 11 a.m. local time (0300GMT). An eye-witness said the attackers fired for about 30 seconds before calmly reloading and opening fire again.

Four hours later police chased a vehicle carrying two suspects from an address in the nearby city of Redlands.

A man and a woman were killed in a gun fight with police and a third suspect was arrested, although it was not clear if they were involved in the shooting, police said.

Investigators were unclear on the motive for the killings. “We have no information at this point to indicate this is terrorist related in the sense that people may have been thinking,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said, according to broadcaster CNN.

David Bowdich, assistant director at the FBI’s Los Angeles office, did not rule out the possibility that terrorism was the motive.

Federal law enforcement sources told the Times Farook had left the party following an altercation.

President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shootings by Homeland Security advisor Lisa Monaco, according to a White House official.

“Obviously, our hearts go out to the victims and the families,” he told broadcaster CBS, who was interviewing him when news of the attack broke. “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.”

The killings came five days after a gunman killed three and injured nine at a family-planning clinic in the western state of Colorado – previously the latest incident to highlight the debate on firearms in the U.S.

There have been at least 351 mass shootings in the country since January, according to ShootingTracker.com, a website that tracks news reports on shooting incidents.

Author: Mustafa Çağlayan
[Photo: US Security Forces secure the area following a shooting that killed multiple people at a social services center for the disabled in San Bernardino, California of United States on December 02, 2015. Photgrapher: Mintaha Neslihan Eroğlu/AA}

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