Between one and three shooters opened fire in a developmental disabilities center in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday. Police are reporting that at least 20 people were shot, with 12 of them reportedly dead, after a call came just before 11 a.m., Pacific time.
San Bernardino Police Lt. Richard Lawhead said a SWAT Team has been deployed to respond to the shooting. Witnesses told police that they saw three men with rifles get into a black SUV, according to CNN reports, but those have not been confirmed by San Bernardino authorities.
SBFD units responding to reports of 20 victim shooting incident in 1300 block of S. Waterman. SBPD is working to clear the scene.
— San Bernardino Fire (@SBCityFire) December 2, 2015
A half hour after emergency personnel were notified, one officer radioed that “they just found another room with more victims,” meaning the count could go higher.
Ambulances and other emergency responders established a triage center in the middle of Waterman Avenue, a major artery of the city.
After the SWAT Team cleared the building, a packaged determined as “not normal” by a bomb team was identified on the second floor, with a robot sent in to handle it, CNN also reported.
The sheriff’s office in San Bernardino County reported a “hard closure” for Orange Show Road between Waterman Avenue and Park Center Circle in the city while the events unfolded.
The Inland Regional Center services more than 30,000 people with developmental disabilities and is staffed by over 650 personnel. It’s coverage area includes all of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, which has more than 1.5 million people.
KTLA spoke with Dave Hall, who has a daughter that goes to the facility, who said the center is used by those with mild to severe autism.
“Who would think of such a thing to make an attack at that kind of facility?” Hall told KTLA.
An NBC reporter spoke with Tony Shin, whose daughter was in the facility at the time. Shin said he was receiving text messages from her while it was happening.
“Dad, somebody is shooting inside our building. I’m hiding in a closet,” she texted. Shin said his daughter managed to get out unharmed.
Another man said he received a text from his daughter saying “Shooting at my work. People shot. In the office waiting for cops. Pray for us.”