At least 14 dead in San Bernardino shooting; no motive known

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Gunmen burst into a social services center Wednesday and opened fire, killing at least 14 people and setting off an intense manhunt that ended with a gunfight and the death of two suspects — a man and a woman, authorities said.Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said the killers walked into a meeting room at the Inland Regional Center, began shooting and quickly fled in a dark-colored SUV. Later, officers following up on a tip rushed to a home, and the suspects fled in an SUV.A police chase and a shootout followed, Burguan said."One male and one female were killed," Burguan said. He said the pair were dressed in military-style garb and were armed with assault rifles and handguns. One officer was wounded in the shootout, but the injuries were not life-threatening."There was a third person seen running away, that person has been detained," Burguan said. He said it was not clear if the person was involved in the massacre. He also said there still might be a suspect at-large, and searches were continuing in the city 60 miles east of Los Angeles.Burguan said 14 people were killed and 17 wounded in the shooting rampage at the center. It was the nation's deadliest shooting since a gunman killed 26 people in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012.Officers searching the building later found an explosive device that had not detonated. No motive had been determined, he said. County buildings in the area were shut down.Witnesses said the shooters were armed with long guns, wearing ski masks and military-style vests. They opened fire in a conference area that the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health had rented out for an employee banquet, Marybeth Feild, president and CEO of the non-profit center, told the Associated Press.One of the killers was identified as Syed Farook, according to a federal law enforcement source who is not authorized to comment publicly. Farook has been employed by the county, the source Continue Reading

Earthquake rocks southern California: Magnitude-4.4 temblor jolts Los Angeles awake

LOS ANGELES — An earthquake east of downtown Los Angeles rippled across Southern California before dawn Tuesday, jolting millions of people awake and putting first-responders on alert but causing no damage, injuries or power outages. The magnitude-4.4 quake, centered about 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, struck shortly after 4 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. "It was a shake, but not bad. Our inmates slept through it and we had a few calls, but not as many as you would think," Pico Rivera sheriff's station Sgt. Jacqueline Sanchez said. Deputies were immediately dispatched to check on bridges and dams, he said. Los Angeles County Fire Department supervising dispatcher Andre Gougis said there were no reports of damage or injury and the department was at normal operations. Gougis said the quake was felt as his east Los Angeles headquarters. "There was an initial jolt, then mild shaking after that," he said. Though the quake was considered small in size, it was felt over a large swath of Southern California. People from San Bernardino County to the east and Santa Monica, about 25 miles to the west, reported feeling it. "The building started shaking. That's it. I'm used to it," said Ruben Solis, a 25-year-old security guard who works downtown. Solis said he checked his monitors and no alarms were triggered. "I got up and went on patrol," he said. The quake hit not far from the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, a magnitude 5.9 quake that killed eight people and caused more than $350 million in damage. The latest jolt was not likely to inflict the same damage. "I'm sure people would have felt it, but this is not an earthquake that will be damaging," said USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan. Scientists have not yet determined which fault was responsible for the latest quake, said California Institute of Technology seismologist Kate Hutton. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Officials: Wildfires in the Los Angeles National Forest caused by humans

LOS ANGELES — Firefighters made more progress Wednesday against a giant wildfire that has ravaged a national forest north of Los Angeles as investigators searched for information about how the fire started. Officials are still trying to figure out what set off the blaze in the Angeles National Forest that had burned nearly 219 square miles, or 140,150 acres, by early Wednesday. Deputy incident commander Carlton Joseph said Wednesday that the fire was human-caused, but it's not known specifically how it was started or whether it was accidental or arson. Joseph said a human cause could include a range of things from a dropped cigarette to a spark from something like a lawn mower. Joseph says investigators have several leads and notes that lightning has been ruled out as a possible cause. Firefighters have created a perimeter around 22 percent of the blaze, largely by removing brush with bulldozers and setting controlled burns. Bulldozers still have 95 miles of fire line to build, mostly on the blaze's eastern front near the San Gabriel Wilderness Area. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the fire area Wednesday morning and served breakfast to firefighters, scooping Cream of Wheat into paper bowls and giving them plenty of protein so "they get all pumped up for the next fight out there with those fires." "The crews are making excellent progress based on the improved weather conditions," U.S. Forest Service incident commander Mike Dietrich said at a Wednesday news conference. Since erupting Aug. 26, the blaze has destroyed more than five dozen homes, killed two firefighters and forced thousands of people from their homes. Officials also were keeping a close eye on the wind, which had been calm overnight but could pick up Wednesday afternoon and move flames closer to homes and a historic observatory on Mount Wilson. In a hillside neighborhood of Glendale, Frank Virgallito stood in a group anxiously watching a controlled burn edge toward their Continue Reading

Moderate earthquake strikes 120 miles east of Los Angeles

LUDLOW, Calif. - A moderate earthquake struck a sparsely populated area of California's Mojave Desert on Friday night. The shaking was felt from Southern California to the fringes of Nevada and Arizona, but there were no immediate reports of damage.The 5.1-magnitude temblor struck just outside Ludlow on Interstate 40 in San Bernardino County, about 120 miles east of Los Angeles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The initial reports measured the quake at 5.5 magnitude."The ground was rolling underneath but it was very light. Nothing," said Jeremy Chestnut, 20, who works at a Dairy Queen in Ludlow. "I was standing in front of an ice cream machine and it makes the ground shake, too."The quake is the second one above a magnitude-5.0 to hit Southern California this year. In July, a magnitude-5.4 quake centered in the hills east of Los Angeles was the strongest to rattle a populated area of Southern California since the 1994 Northridge disaster.In the town of Yermo, about 20 miles from Ludlow, a dozen people in Lee's Tavern didn't seem too concerned when the bottles began to rattle."Everyone said, 'Oh, it's an earthquake."' said Leon Lee, the bar's owner. "We didn't hardly feel anything, just some kind of vibration."The quake struck 16 miles northwest of Ludlow, which has a population of 10, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.The quake "is relatively shallow and if it were located in a more populated area it could be very damaging," USGS seismologist Richard Buckmaster said. "But it's out in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere."Across the Colorado River at the western Arizona border, Fort Mojave Tribal police dispatcher Jessica Hopkins said she felt a gentle rumbling.Shaking was also felt in Las Vegas, said Scott Allison, a spokesman for the Clark County Fire Department in Nevada. He said there were no reports of injuries or damage."People were just calling 911 saying, 'Did I feel the earth move?"' Allison said.The quake was just a few miles from where a Continue Reading

San Bernardino shooters had pipe bombs, ammunition

A dozen pipe bombs and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition were discovered inside the Redlands home of the two people who killed 14 people at a medical facility and later died in a shootout with law enforcement officials Wednesday.Furthermore, the number of injured victims increased from 17 to 21, San Bernardino police Chief Jarrod Burguan said during a news conference Thursday morning.Among the 14 deceased victims in the San Bernardino mass shooting was Nicholas Thalasinos, according to The Israel Project's Facebook page.Two officials were injured in the shootout with Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. One - a San Bernardino police officer - was treated for gunshot to his left leg, and a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy cut his leg with broken glass or shrapnel.Their injuries are not life threatening, Burguan said. He added the names of the 14 victims may be released throughout Thursday.Farook and Malik, who are described as a married couple, took part in a mass shooting inside the Inland Regional Center.They used four guns, which were all legally purchased, and a black Ford Expedition that had been rented days ago.The shooters also had three pipe bombs that were combined into one device. Its remote control did not work and may have prevented it from detonating, the chief said.Farook is an environmental health specialist with San Bernardino County. His brother-in-law, Farhan Khan, said his family was shocked at what happened."Why would he do something like this?" Khan asked, later saying the family is in a state of shock and disbelief about what happened.The couple lived in Redlands with their 6-month-old daughter. She was dropped off earlier in the day with her grandparents. A neighbor said they lived in their Redlands home for five or six months.Five people remained hospitalized at Loma Linda University Medical Center for gunshot wounds. Two people were in critical condition and three were in Continue Reading

San Bernardino shooters lived a double life

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this story misidentified the relationship of Farhan Khan to Syed R. Farook, the suspected gunman. Khan is Farhook's brother-in-law.The portrait that emerged Thursday of San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik was of a couple living a double life.On the surface, they had all the makings of the American dream -- he had a secure job, they lived in a nice neighborhood in a prosperous community and had a new baby girl. But apparently in their off hours, police say they stockpiled guns, ammunition and bombs in preparation for an attack aimed at killing as many people as possible.They started Wednesday by dropping off their six-month-old baby at a grandparents' house, says Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Anaheim, Calif., who talked with Farook's family. The family saw no hint of trouble. They said the couple told them they had a doctor's appointment that day.The pair struck at about 11 a.m., interrupting a festive staff holiday party at the Inland Regional Center, which serves developmentally disabled people. They killed 14, injured at least 20 others and left a bomb behind, police said. Then they went home to nearby Redlands and left again, toting 1,400 rounds of assault-rifle ammunition before dying in a shootout with officers."Why would he do something like this?" asked Farhan Khan, who is married to Farook's sister, in a meeting with reporters. He said his extended family is in a state of shock and disbelief. On the surface, Farook seemed to have it all.Lanky and handsome, the U.S.-born Farook, 28, worked as an environmental health specialist for San Bernardino County for five years. He conducted health inspections. Co-workers describe him as pleasant, but none of the colleagues contacted remember a lot about him. If he had become radicalized, his own family didn't appear to detect it.Malik, 27, was born in Pakistan, entering the U.S. on a Continue Reading

Firefighters in San Bernardino County save four puppies from blaze at home in Victorville, California

These firefighters made a doggone good save. Firefighters in San Bernardino County near Los Angeles arrived at the scene of a residential fire in the town of Victorville just before 1 a.m. Saturday and found the resident of the 16000 block of Allen St. safe but despondent, according to the fire department. “My babies are inside,” the resident told the firefighters, authorities said. But the unidentified occupant of the house wasn’t talking about children. The resident’s “babies” were actually five adorable puppies who were trapped inside the burning home, according to a statement released on Saturday by the San Bernardino County Fire Department. The firefighters entered the home to search for the puppies and fight the blaze. They managed to rescue four of the five puppies, while extinguishing the flames in roughly 15 minutes. Pictures the department posted on social media show a tiny black and gold puppy in a smoke-eater’s arms and the resident clutching one after it was rescued. The local fire marshal is still investigating the cause of the blaze, fire department spokesman Jeff Allen told the Daily News on Sunday night. Yet the puppies were not the only youngsters that the department delivered from danger earlier in the weekend. Almost an hour and a half before the Victorville fire, county firefighter paramedics on I-15 south of the town of Cleghorn, Calif., responded to a call for an emergency childbirth, according to authorities. The first-responders successfully delivered a baby girl, born to a 30-year-old mom in the back of the father's SUV, parked on the side of the highway at night, a release from the department said. "We had a pretty exciting weekend here," Allen said. Follow on Twitter @tobysalkc ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Missing 22-year-old woman near Cal State found safe in Los Angeles: reports

A 22-year-old woman who had mysteriously vanished near a California university last week has been found safe, according to reports. Sahray Barber’s sudden disappearance sparked a massive search and widespread fear, as it came on the heels of two disturbing attacks on female students at California State University San Bernardino. The local Los Angeles art institute student was reported missing near campus after she was last seen on March 9 leaving her apartment, which is directly across from the university, police said. Some of her belongings, including a laptop and her cellphone, were found in bushes near a bus stop, according to NBC 4 Los Angeles. Barber was found unharmed a couple miles from home — and she was unaware of the fright she caused, the TV station reported. She saw a news report about herself and phoned home. The San Bernardino Police Department had scoured the area for forensic evidence and clues, police Lt. Rich Lawhead told the Daily News last week. Detectives feel they may have been misled in the case, according to NBC 4 Los Angeles. The police department did not immediately return a call for comment Friday. Barber’s disappearance sent Cal State students into a panic. It followed two recent attacks on female students inside the school’s library. A man grabbed a woman from behind in a stairwell at the John M. Pfau Library and kissed her several times on the face, police said. The suspect, believed to be the same man, later approached another female victim from behind, placed his hand over her mouth and told her she was going for a ride in his car. Police released a sketch of the wanted man last week. It’s unclear if any arrests have been made. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

10 San Bernardino County deputies suspended after video shows beating of suspect who fled on horseback

Nearly a dozen California deputies were suspended after a video emerged showing several officers beating a suspect for more than a minute after he was hit by a Taser and apparently surrender. Francis Jared Pusok, a convicted felon who is a suspect in an identity theft case, fled from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies first by car, then on foot, then on horseback on Thursday afternoon. The video, filmed by a TV news crew in a helicopter, showed two deputies apprehending Pusok after he fell from the horse in rugged hills some 90 miles east of Los Angeles. The two deputies Tasered him at least once, authorities said, and at one point he threw up his arms, seemingly in an attempt to surrender. But the two deputies began to kick and punch him, landing shots to his head and groin. The beating continued for more than a minute, and several other law enforcement officers joined in, in some cases even pushing others away so they could get a lick in on the defenseless suspect. “The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing, and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately,” San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon said in a statement. “In addition, members of the Specialized Investigations Detail are responding to conduct the criminal investigation.” McMahon later said that his office identified 10 deputies involved in the violent incident and were placed on paid administrative leave. The case will be handled by the county's district attorney, who will determine if criminal charges are warranted. Pusok’s lawyer likened the beating to the infamous video of cops in Los Angeles pummeling the late Rodney King. “What I saw on the television was thugs beating up my client,” the attorney, Jim Terrell, told CBS Los Angeles. “That’s what I saw. And these questions about ‘What was he doing?’ What did they do? This is far Continue Reading

San Bernardino County reaches $650K settlement with man beaten by deputies after horseback pursuit

The California man who was brutalized by deputies after trying to flee from them on horseback earlier this month has reached a $650,000 settlement with San Bernardino County. County supervisors approved the deal Tuesday in a closed meeting with Francis Pusok, 30, who was beaten and stunned with a Taser in an attack captured on a news chopper camera. “The sole purpose of this agreement for both parties is to avoid the costs involved in litigation,” Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos said in a statement. “The agreement is a fair outcome for everyone involved, including the taxpayers.” The Apple Valley man said he feared for his life during the minute-long pounding that led to the suspension of 10 San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies, and a federal civil rights investigation. "I thought I was being beaten to death," Pusok had told NBC4 in his first TV interview after the April 9 arrest. "I was wondering, 'When is it going to stop?'" Pusok, a convicted felon who is a suspect in an identity theft case, fled from deputies first by car, then on foot, then on horseback. He led them through a Los Angeles desert for almost three hours before falling off his horse and putting his hands behind his back. Despite his surrender, police hit him more than 80 times and repeatedly stunned him with a Taser. In some cases, deputies shoved each other aside to take shots at the defenseless suspect. The attack was "far worse than Rodney King," his lawyer Jim Terrell had said. Pusok suffered wounds on his head, face, back, legs, neck and ribs. The agreement would settle all potential civil claims, David Wert, a county spokesman, told the Associated Press. With News Wire Services Join the Conversation: Continue Reading