INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The mass shooting in San Bernardino has sparked a renewed debate over gun control with advocates of gun control saying that sympathy for the victims is not enough.
Congressman Todd Rokita offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims and families in California in a tweet. So did Congresswoman Susan Brooks, and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.
Governor Mike Pence used almost the same words to express his feelings.
They are all supporters of guns rights.
It’s the sort of thing that the New York Daily News took issue with in a front page headline. “God Isn’t Fixing This” it said in a loud call for new gun control measures.
Gun control advocates, including Stephanie Grabow of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, latched onto it.
“And in a moment of crisis the first thing I do is pray,” she said, “and then I get up and do something and that’s what we expect our elected officials to do is to have their thoughts and prayers with those people being affected, but then to take some action to keep the rest of us safe.”
Congressman André Carson tweeted that his thoughts are with the San Bernardino community but said his prayers are pleading for action.
“We have to have a larger conversation about our gun laws in this county,” said Carson.
The President offered his sympathies in an Oval Office statement but followed up by calling for unspecified gun control.
“We’re gonna have to, I think, search ourselves as a society to make sure that we can take the basic steps that make it harder, not impossible, but harder,” he said, “for individuals to get access to weapons.”
Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman fought back by retweeting a message that accused the gun control advocates of mocking prayer.
Other gun rights supporters are quick to point out that California is known as a gun control state and that the guns used in the mass killing in San Bernardino were purchased legally.
This debate is far from over.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – The two attackers who killed 14 people in a rampage at a banquet fired as many as 75 rifle rounds at the scene, left behind three rigged-together pipe bombs with a remote-control device that apparently malfunctioned, and had over 1,600 more bullets with them when they were gunned down in their SUV, authorities said Thursday.
At their home, they had 12 pipe bombs, tools for making more explosives, and over 3,000 rounds of ammunition, Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in a grim morning-after inventory that suggested Wednesday’s bloodbath could have been far worse.
Wearing military-style gear and wielding assault rifles, Syed Rizwan Farook, a 28-year-old county restaurant inspector, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, slaughtered 14 and wounded 17 in the attack at a social service center shortly after he slipped away from an employee banquet he was attending there.
The couple were shot to death about four hours later and a few miles away in a furious gunbattle with police.
As the FBI took over the investigation, authorities were trying to learn why the couple left behind their 6-month-old daughter and went on the rampage – the nation’s deadliest mass shooting since the Newtown, Connecticut, school tragedy three years ago that left 26 children and adults dead.
“There was obviously a mission here. We know that. We do not know why. We don’t know if this was the intended target or if there was something that triggered him to do this immediately,” said David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.
At the White House, President Barack Obama said after meeting with his national security team that it was “possible this was terrorist-related” but that authorities were unsure. He raised the possibility that it was a workplace dispute or that mixed motives were at play.
Law enforcement experts said investigators may well conclude the killers had more than one motivation.
Farook was born in the U.S. to a Pakistani family, was raised in Southern California and had been a San Bernardino County employee for five years, according to authorities and acquaintances. Authorities said Malik came to the U.S. on a Pakistani passport in July 2014.
Police and federal agents for a second day searched a home in neighboring Redlands, about 7 miles from the massacre at the Inland Regional Center. Investigators didn’t immediately say if the couple had lived there. Public records show it may be the home of a Farook family member.
Residents told KABC-TV Redlands is a sleepy town and expressed shock that the killers might be their neighbors.
The attackers invaded the center about 60 miles east of Los Angeles around 11 a.m., opening fire in a conference area county health officials had rented for an employee banquet. Farook attended the banquet, then left and returned with murderous intent.
Federal authorities said the two assault rifles and two handguns used in the violence had been bought legally, but they did not say how and when they got into the attackers’ hands.
Co-worker Patrick Baccari said he was sitting at the same table as Farook, who suddenly disappeared. Baccari said that when the shooting started, he took refuge in a bathroom and suffered minor wounds from shrapnel slicing through the wall.
The shooting lasted about five minutes, he said, and when he looked in the mirror he realized he was bleeding.
“If I hadn’t been in the bathroom, I’d probably be laying dead on the floor,” he said.
Baccari described Farook as reserved and said he showed no signs of unusual behavior. Earlier this year, he traveled to Saudi Arabia, was gone for about a month and returned with a wife, later growing a beard, Baccari said.
The couple dropped off their daughter with relatives Wednesday morning, saying they had a doctor’s appointment, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said after talking with family.
“We don’t know the motives. Is it work, rage-related? Is it mental illness? Is it extreme ideology? At this point, it’s really unknown to us, and at this point it’s too soon to speculate,” Ayloush said.
Co-workers told the Los Angeles Times that Farook was a devout Muslim but didn’t talk about religion at work.
Farhan Khan, who is married to Farook’s sister, told reporters that he last spoke to his brother-in-law about a week ago. Khan condemned the violence and said he had “absolutely no idea” why Farook would kill.
Seventeen people were wounded, according to authorities. As of Thursday morning, two patients were listed in critical condition.
About four hours after the late-morning carnage, police hunting for the killers riddled a black SUV with gunfire in a shootout 2 miles from the social services center in this Southern California city of 214,000 people.
During the shootout, the couple fired 76 rounds, while law enforcement officers unleashed about 380, the police chief said.
Associated Press writers Brian Melley, John Antczak, Christopher Weber, John Rogers, Christine Armario and Sue Manning in Los Angeles; Amy Taxin in Redlands; Eric Tucker and Tami Abdollah in Washington; Gillian Flaccus in Anaheim; Alina Hartounian in Phoenix; Michael Sisak in Philadelphia; and Hannah Cushman in Chicago contributed to this story. Pritchard reported from Los Angeles.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As the mass shooting event in San Bernardino, California unfolded, former Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs explained how local authorities would respond to a similar incident.
Riggs, who now serves as the Director of Public Safety Outreach at the IU Public Policy Institute, said it starts with training, specifically for active shooter situations like what just occurred in San Bernardino.
He said it will involve police, fire, and EMS all at the same time working together. Police said the shooting in San Bernardino involved multiple shooters.
Riggs said when there’s more than one shooter, it’s typically a coordinated attack and it’s likely the shooters have also planned an escape route.
When it comes to the targeted facility, which in this case was the Inland Regional Center, Riggs said law enforcement don’t waste time waiting to go inside.
“If you have an active shooter, you have to go in and stop that threat immediately or lives will die. What we used to do is lock down the facility, call SWAT in, negotiate. That doesn’t work now with an active shooter,” he said.
Riggs went on to say that police would have to search the building room by room, not only looking for the shooters but potential victims or innocent people who might be hiding.
After it’s clear, he said their attention would turn to neighboring buildings in case the shooters could be hiding out nearby.
When it comes to home people should react when caught in an active shooter situation, Riggs said to be prepared, not paranoid. He wants people to have a plan but at the same time he doesn’t want people living in fear.
When it comes to the plan, Riggs said to first make sure you and your family are safe and together. Take note of exits and have an escape route ready.
Also call 911. If you’re struggling to get through to dispatch, he said to use social media on your phone like Twitter or Facebook to get law enforcement’s attention.
“That’s one of the reasons in most major cities now that when there’s a major incident occurring that law enforcement monitors twitter, monitors Facebook to see if there’s some type of intelligence that they’re missing,” he said.
Riggs said if you’re caught in an active shooter situation, your three choices are the run, hide, or fight. All the while, Riggs said to be a good witness. Take note of what you’re seeing and hearing. He said that information could be crucial for police later on.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) – A sheriff’s deputy in a helicopter shot at a suspected home invasion robber who led authorities on a 100-mph chase Friday, and the suspect died on a Southern California freeway, authorities said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the man had been wounded by gunfire or died from other injuries, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Deon Filer said.
Deputies began pursuing the robbery suspect from the Fontana area east of Los Angeles around midday, authorities said.
The gray Chevrolet Yukon reached speeds of 100 mph as it raced along streets and traveled southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 215 into San Bernardino, sideswiping a car, authorities said.
The wrong-way driving prompted a deputy to open fire on the SUV from a helicopter.
“It’s a public-safety issue,” Deputy Olivia Bozek said. “Once he starts going the wrong way, obviously he doesn’t care about passengers or pedestrians or other cars that are around.”
TV reports showed at least five gunshots in the SUV’s hood.
The driver then bailed out of the vehicle, which kept rolling and crashed head-on into a Dodge Durango. Three people in that SUV were injured and taken to hospitals, officials said.
One was listed in critical condition and two were in fair condition, KABC-TV reported.
The fleeing driver, meanwhile, continued along the freeway until he collapsed a short distance away near an overpass. He died at the scene.
The incident closed the northbound lanes for hours, backing up traffic for miles.