As investigators scoured the streets of San Bernardino, California, in search of the suspects still on the loose after a mass shooting there Wednesday, Sherman Dumas was praying -- and walking. The local pastor and his staffers, unable to break through the traffic jam caused by emergency vehicles clogging Waterman Avenue, set out on foot to comfort the friends and family members of potential victims. Dumas provided them with water bottles, granola bars and a sympathetic ear.
But he was in shock himself. "We see all of this stuff all over the world, but nobody ever thinks that it's going to come here," Dumas said. "It's shaken us up a bit to see this on our streets."
Police said as many as three suspects opened fire just before 11 a.m. local time at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with disabilities. At least 14 were killed, and at least 17 were injured. The motive remained unclear, and the FBI said it didn't know whether the massacre met the definition of domestic terrorism. Authorities said the gunmen were "dressed and equipped" for the shooting, during which they used long guns, International Business Times previously reported.
Sandra Wood, the interim executive director of the nearby but unrelated Inland Empire Lighthouse for the Blind, said she heard the gunfire. "It was very loud, and there was probably 25, 30 rounds," she added.
Wood and her students were safe but still on lockdown about three hours after the shooting. "The whole area is frozen," she said. "Nobody's leaving or coming. There's plenty of police presence around this area."
The Associated Press reported that officers thought the suspects may be in a dark SUV, but other specifics were scarce. Twitter user Larry Ogburn confirmed the hectic atmosphere. He wrote that his wife, Cynthia, had called with news that she was on lockdown at a restaurant six blocks away from the shooting. "Police, helicopters, SWAT, fire, news, etc., everywhere," he said. "That's all I know right now."
Much of San Bernardino remained shut down Wednesday as the manhunt continued. Ramon, an employee at the Sepulveda Building Materials store on the same block as the shooting site, said his managers had locked the doors. It was a break from normal conditions in the Southern California city with a population of about 214,000 people.
"Every day is calm, especially around here," said Ramon, who did not give his last name. "Then all of a sudden this happened."
Dumas, the pastor, was eventually able to reach -- and use -- his car. He was en route to the Rudy C. Hernandez Center, where victims' families were congregating, to support them. Amid the devastation, Dumas noted that hope wasn't lost.
"We believe our city's going to heal from this," he said. "We don't know how long [it will take], and we don't know exactly what the process looks like, but we're going to come back."