Mass shooting in San Bernardino: 'just another day in America'

At least 14 people were killed when a heavily armed couple stormed a disability centre in California

Swat police arrive at San Bernardino shooting
(Image credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

A man and a woman have been shot dead by police after they attacked a social services centre in California, killing at least 14 people and injuring 17 others.

The couple, identified as Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were armed with assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns when they entered the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino yesterday morning.

They were killed by officers in a gun battle following a car chase through the city. Residents were told to remain indoors and government buildings and schools were put on lockdown.

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"We are reasonably confident that we have two shooters and we have two dead suspects," San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan told the New York Times.

None of the victims have yet been identified in what has become the worst mass shooting in the US since the Sandy Hook school massacre three years ago.

Alex Vasquez, a cameraman for NBC4, witnessed the aftermath of the shooting. "People had been shot in the back, arms, chest," he said. "I saw a woman who was badly injured. She was on the ground, struggling. I saw her take her last breath."

The treatment centre attacked specialises in helping people with disabilities and mental health problems, but the shooting "appeared to be unrelated to the patients", says the BBC.

A motive for the killings has not yet been established, but the FBI's David Bowdich said terrorism could not yet be ruled out, The Guardian reports.

"I know one of the questions that will come up is 'is this terrorism', and we don't know that for sure,” he said. “It is a possibility but we don’t know that yet and we’re not willing to go down that road yet.”

Yesterday's shooting came just days after three people were killed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, with President Barack Obama calling once again for urgent gun reform.

"One thing we do know is that we have a pattern of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere in the world," he said.

Reporting from the scene, the BBC's James Cook said San Bernardino "felt more like a war zone than a city in California" with paramilitary-style police swarming over the area.

"By one measure though, there has been more than one mass shooting on average every day this year," said Cook. "In that respect this was just another day in the United States of America."

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