New heartbreaking and disturbing details have been revealed about the San Bernardino terror, in a new report released by the Justice Department and the Police Foundation.
On the morning of December 2, 2015, at a training session and holiday party for San Bernardino county health workers, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, opened fire on the unsuspecting workers, shooting over 100 rounds in two to three minutes. The pair killed 14 people and wounded 22, leaving carnage that resembled a war zone.
The new report released Friday, September 9, titled “Bringing Calm to Chaos,” reviews the police response to the attacks, provides new details, as well as lessons on how law enforcement can respond to future attacks.
It describes heros who tried to stop the attack, and the carnage police found when they entered, including dying victims pleading for their lives.
Farook is described as a health inspector at the department who was a diligent worker and tech-savvy with computer problems – but his colleagues thought he become “more stoic” after he returned from Saudi Arabia with his new bride, Malik, originally from Pakistan.
On the morning of the shooting, about 80 staff members gathered for a joint training session and Christmas party. They had watched a training video, and were in the middle of a “team-building exercise” when Rizwan Farook looked at his phone, then got up from his chair and left the meeting. At 11:00 am, during a break, they heard loud pops outside the conference room (which was two people killed before they entered the room) then Farook and Malik, wearing masks, reentered the conference room and started gunning down his co-workers
At first, some thought this must be more training, and just stood there, until they realized it was real. Ironically, some of the workers present had been previously trained on how to deal with an active shooter, but only a few people knew instantly they should run for the exits.
The report said there were three “mystery people” who had tried to rush the two terrorists in an attempt to stop the carnage, but they were gunned down. If anyone moved or made a sound, the shooters fired more rounds into their bodies.
Many people managed to barricade themselves in other rooms in the building, and others escaped through the exits.
During the shooting, one round hit an overhead sprinkler pipe, causing water to pour from the ceiling.
One wounded survivor told of a woman who was shot in the head and asked the co-worker to call her mother to say goodbye. As the coworker tried to comfort her, the dying woman said “I’m bleeding from the mouth,” then she “closed her eyes for good,” the coworker testified.
The first four officers who arrived at the scene described the horror they found:
“It looked like a bomb had gone off. Bodies were strewn across the floor. Many had devastating wounds. Blood was everywhere, the report said. “The smell of gunpowder filled their nostrils, and the sprinklers sounded like they were hissing. Wounded victims pleaded with them to stop, taking hold of the officers’ legs in hopes of receiving aid.”
“It was the worst thing imaginable — some people were quiet, hiding, others were screaming or dying, grabbing at your legs because they wanted us to get them out, but our job at the moment was to keep going,” one patrol officer said in the report. “That was the hardest part, stepping over them.”
In a letter from the President of the Police Foundation, Chief Jim Bueermann, he said it was unlike anything he had experienced in his 33 years in the Redland Police Department.
In another disturbing detail, about six hours after the shooting, police discovered a bag left in the conference room containing three pipe bombs, which they believe were supposed to go off after first-responders reached the scene, but failed to do so.
When law enforcement learned who the shooters were and chased them down, it ended with Farook being shot by police 26 times and his wife 15 times.
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