22 August 2019

US police probe motive of California mass shooting

KONFRONTASI-US authorities are investigating the motive of a shooting spree that left 14 people dead and another 17 wounded at a centre for people with learning disabilities in Southern California.

A man and a woman suspected of taking part in Wednesday's attack in San Bernardino died in a shootout with police hours later, authorities said.

The slain suspects were identified by police as Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, described as a possibly married or engaged.

Jarrod Burguan, San Bernardino police chief, said Farook was a US-born county employee who had attended a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center, a social services agency, and later returned to open fire on the celebration.

The attackers were dressed in military-style gear and carried assault weapons as they burst into the auditorium where the shooting took place.

In critical condition

Beyond the 14 dead, the shooting left at least 17 people wounded, including 10 in critical condition.

No details have yet been released on the victims' identities.

Farook's brother-in-law has said he was stunned to hear of his relative's involvement in Wednesday's shooting.

Farhan Khan, who is married to the sister of Syed Farook, made the comments at the Anaheim office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Khan, who said he last spoke to Farook about a week ago, said he had "absolutely no idea why [Farook] would do this. I am shocked myself".

President Barack Obama, who just last week made a plea for tougher gun control measures after three people were killed at a family planning centre in Colorado, again urged Congress to take action.

"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," he told CBS News.

"There are 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."

Wednesday's attack marked the deadliest US gun violence since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, in which 27 people, including the shooter, were killed.

So far in 2015, there have been more than 350 shootings in which four or more people have been wounded, according to the crowd-sourced website shootingtracker.com, which keeps a running tally of US gun violence.[mr/aje]



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