Law enforcement authorities in San Bernardino engaged in a gun battle with occupants of an SUV, possibly the suspects from Wednesday morning’s shooting at the Inland Regional Center. Two suspects were killed.
Meanwhile in the wake of the fatal shootings, the Los Angeles Police Department went on a modified tactical alert, meaning officer shifts will be extended, says Officer Aereon Jefferson of the department’s media relations section. LAPD captains and watch commanders are aware of the situation in San Bernardino and responded with appropriate precautions, Jefferson says. Under a full tactical alert, only priority calls would be answered. Los Angeles police—already on heightened alert following the Paris terrorist attacks—closely monitored the mass shooting Wednesday at a San Bernardino treatment center for people with developmental disabilities, while similar facilities in the Southland closed their doors for the day.
Mayor Eric Garcetti offered this comment on the situation: “Once again, our hearts are broken over another shooting that has claimed lives. The thoughts and prayers of all Angelenos are with the victims, their families and all of the people of San Bernardino affected by this tragedy.
“Our police and fire agencies are in contact with their counterparts in San Bernardino, and are on standby to assist as needed. In addition, my Mayor’s Office Crisis Response Team, trained in trauma intervention and grief counseling, has offered its support to San Bernardino—with a team of volunteers being made available to assist area law enforcement agencies with outreach to affected family members, friends and the community.
“This hits very close to home, because San Bernardino is a neighboring county. Although today’s incident has no direct connection to the City of Los Angeles, we are doing everything we can to remain vigilant, stay prepared, and keep Angelenos safe.”
President Barack Obam, commenting from Paris on Wednesday, called for a “bipartisan effort at every level of government” to address mass shootings, such as the one that injured as many as 20 people in San Bernardino.
“We don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is there are steps we can take to make Americans safer, and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal,” Obama told CBS News.
“We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events, because it doesn’t happen with the same frequency in other countries,” he said.
In a precautionary move, the Harbor Regional Center in Torrance closed for the day. In a notice posted on the center’s website, officials said, “There is no reason to expect that there could be any similar activity at any other regional center, but in an abundance of caution, Harbor Regional Center is closed for today. We will monitor the news and our thoughts are with the staff and clients of IRC.”
The North Los Angeles County Regional Center also closed its locations in Van Nuys, Santa Clarita and Lancaster. The Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center also closed, with officials saying “news of such an event is incomprehensible.”
Details of the shooting were still sketchy and the motivations for the attack were not immediately known. Police said as many as 14 people were killed and 14 others injured at the center at 1365 S. Waterman Ave.
Authorities said the shooting involved three gunmen, and they were believed to be wearing body armor and armed with “long guns.” They fled thescene in a dark-colored SUV, police said.
Agents from the Los Angeles field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene, according to the federal agency. Officials from the FBI were also dispatched to the scene.
Agents from Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on scene on Wednesday.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting. Gov. Jerry Brown was also briefed and “is closely monitoring this disturbing and ongoing situation unfolding in San Bernardino,” according to the governor’s Twitter page.
The city of Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center was activated “out of an abundance of caution” to monitor the situation, but city officials said there were “no known impacts from the shooting in the city.
According to the facility’s Facebook page, the Inland Regional Center has nearly 670 staff members and provides services to more than 30,200 people with developmental disabilities and their families in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.