Fourteen people were killed at a social service agency in the Southern California city of San Bernardino on Wednesday, and a manhunt was under way for up to three suspects who opened fire, the police chief said.
A further 14 people were wounded, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in a televised news briefing. He said the suspects were believed to have fled the building, possibly making their getaway in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle.
“We have no information at this point that this is terrorist-related, in the traditional sense that people may be thinking,” he added. “Obviously, at minimum, we have a domestic-type terrorist-type situation that occurred here.”
He said the suspects were armed with rifles.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack and reiterated calls for stronger gun laws. “…We should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these (shootings) rare as opposed to normal.”
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Twitter, “I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now.”
WATCH: What is Inland Regional Center?
Agents for the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were dispatched to the scene to assist local law enforcement in the investigation, representatives for the two agencies said.
The shooting took place at the Inland Regional Center, one of 21 facilities set up by the state and run under contract by non-profit organizations to serve people with developmental disabilities, said Nancy Lungren, spokeswoman for the California Department of Developmental Services.
Television images on CNN showed people being evacuated from the building, their arms raised, as triage stations were set up outside. Police and SWAT teams were seen surrounding the building.
HOSPITAL READIES FOR PATIENTS
Loma Linda University Medical Center, on a recorded hotline, said it had received four adult patients and was expecting three more.
The regional centers like the one attacked in San Bernardino administer, authorize and pay for assistance to people with disabilities such as autism and mental retardation.
On an average day, doctors at the regional centers would be evaluating toddlers whose parents have concerns and case workers would be meeting with developmentally disabled adults. Lungren said that the San Bernardino facility is one of the state’s largest and busiest.
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The shooting in California comes less than a week after a gunman killed three people and wounded nine in a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. In October, a gunman killed nine people at a college in Oregon and in June a white gunman killed nine black churchgoers in South Carolina.
The Inland Regional Center has been the focus of recent complaints that its clients were not receiving all services requested or that some services were cut back without proper notice, said attorney Terri Keville of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP.
In a settlement last year, the agency agreed to implement new procedures to make sure clients were properly informed of their rights and received the services to which they were entitled.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)
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