Police say two suspects in Wednesday's mass shooting at a Southern California social services center were killed after a car chase.
The deaths came after two people opened fire on a holiday event at a social services center in San Bernardino, killing at least 14 people and injuring 17 others, authorities said. A third person has been detained, but it was not clear whether that person was a suspect.
The car chase erupted as police hunted for the suspects who had fled the Inland Regional Center where the mass shooting occurred. Police riddled a black SUV with gunfire in a shootout two miles from the late-morning carnage.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at Wednesday evening press conference that the two people who were killed were wearing "assault-style clothing" and were both armed with assault rifles and handguns. He said authorities found what they believe is an explosive device at the Inland Regional Center.
Burguan also says the person who was detained was seen running near a gunbattle, but it's not clear if that person is connected to the shooting.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff and the San Bernardino Police Department later identified the dead suspects as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, who was the woman killed by law enforcement. The third person was still detained as of 10 p.m. on Wednesday but it remains unclear if they were involved.
At a later press conference, Burguan said Farook was an environmental specialist with the San Bernardino health department who sometimes worked at the Inland Regional Center.
Burguan said that Farook angrily left an office holiday party earlier Wednesday before returning with Malik.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the couple left their baby with family Wednesday morning and never returned.
"We condemn this horrific and revolting attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” said Ayloush. "The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans in repudiating any twisted mindset that would claim to justify such sickening acts of violence.”
Farhan Khan, who is married to Farook's sister, spoke to reporters at the Anaheim CAIR office.
Khan said he last spoke to Farook about a week ago, adding he had "absolutely no idea why he would do this. I am shocked myself." Khan says other family members asked him to speak at the news conference, and to express their sadness over the shootings.
Meredith Davis, a spokeswoman with ATF, told KCAL9-TV the two suspects who died in the shootout were "loaded with magazines for a gunfight."
Davis said the suspects also threw a thick-gauge copper pipe out of the SUV, but no explosives were found inside. The fake pipe bomb was equipped with a piece of material made to look like a wick.
Authorities are examining possible motives. David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI's field office in Los Angeles, says one possibility is workplace violence and another is "terrorism."
The mass shooting is the deadliest U.S. gun violence since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, in which 27 people, including the gunman, were killed.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack by his homeland security adviser. He said it was too early to know the shooters' motives but urged the country to take steps to reduce mass shootings, including stricter gun laws and stronger background checks.
"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, and there's some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don't happen as frequently," Obama told CBS.
The attackers invaded the Inland Regional Center and began shooting around 11 a.m.
Marybeth Field, the president and CEO of the center, said the shooting happened in a conference area where the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health was having a banquet.
Federal and local law enforcement authorities converged on the Inland Regional Center and searched for the shooter or shooters. Stores, office buildings and at least one school were locked down in the city, which is home to 214,000 people and is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
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