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Video: Officer Tells Survivors In Mass Shooting, 'I'll Take A Bullet Before You Do'
An employee at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino where a mass shooting took place on Wednesday took a cellphone video of the tense moments inside the facility following the attack, as a police officer tried to safely bring the hostages outside.
Gabi Flores, who works as a consumer services coordinator at the center, shared her video with KPCC, following the mass shooting that happened at 11 a.m. and took the lives of 14 people and wounded 21 others at the facility located on the 1300 block of South Waterman Avenue. Hours later, a police chase following the two suspects in a black SUV led to a shootout on the 1700 block of San Bernardino Avenue, killing 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook, who worked at the San Bernardino County Public Health Department, and his wife, 29-year-old Tashfeen Malik. They were both armed with assault rifles and wearing assault-style clothing, authorities said.
In Flores' clip, an officer can be seen leading the group safely through the halls. He reassures everyone, and says, "Try to relax, try to relax. I'll take a bullet before you do, that's for damn sure."
Other survivors have been sharing their stories about what happened on that tragic day inside the nonprofit facility that serves people who have developmental disabilities, where two gunmen entered and began shooting inside a holiday banquet being held by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.
Julie Paez, the inspector with the San Bernardino County Department of Health, was one of the people shot and injured in the melee, according to the L.A. Times. She was supposed to receive an Employee of the Year award at the banquet, but instead was hit at least twice, her children said. Her family received a text message from Paez at 11:20 a.m. accompanied by a photo of her face as she was laying on the ground that read, "Love you guys," she said in a group text message with her family. "Was shot."
Her son, Nick Paez, told the Times that he told his mother that one of the suspected shooters was her co-worker. "That doesn't make sense," she told him. "They were congratulating him for having a baby."
Farook and Malik had a 6-month-old daughter they had left with Farook's grandmother Wednesday morning before the mass shooting, telling her they had a doctor's appointment.
Kevin Ortiz, a 24-year-old county environmental inspector, was shot twice in the leg and once in the shoulder. He was still able to call his father and his wife to let them know he was okay. His wife, 23-year-old Dyana Ortiz, told the Times, "Kevin said he had been shot three times and that he was in pain but he was all right. Then he said 'I love you' and I said ‘I love you."
Melinda Rivas, who was in the building at the time, told ABC 7, "They yelled down the hall and said, 'There's a shooting downstairs! There's a shooting downstairs!' Just heard like boom, boom shots but I didn't really hear a gun fire, the gunshots go off, but it sounded more like a big, huge thump."
She added, "There were 47 of us. We squeezed in our conference room, barricaded the doors, locked the doors with all the furniture in the conference room, hid behind our conference table."
Rivas told the Times that later in the day when she walked out and past the Inland Regional Center, she saw that people had left behind in the streets purses, sweaters and shoes in an attempt to flee.
Another witness told ABC 7 that someone thought the sound of gunfire were the sound of firecrackers that someone had lit for their party. "And then her friend fell to the floor."
CBS Los Angeles spoke to family members of the survivors who shared the text messages they received from their loved ones during the shooting.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said today in a press conference that authorities believe Farook and Malik were the only suspects involved in the mass shooting, and that there isn't a credible threat for another attack. However, they believe there was a lot of planning involved in this attack.
Farook attended the banquet at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino before the shooting. Witnesses said he stepped out of the event, "angry" after a dispute, and returned with his wife, armed and wearing tactical gear and opened fire. Authorities do not know the motive behind the shooting.