A search was underway Wednesday for three suspects after a shooting that killed 14 people and injured at least 17 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, authorities said. The suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV, but it did not appear that authorities had reason to believe they were headed to Mexico, which is a roughly three-hour drive away from the Southern California city where the shooting unfolded.
A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesman said the Southern California office had not received any specific instructions to remain vigilant of the suspects at large. "I haven't seen anything directed to us because San Bernardino Police Department is the elite agency [on the case]," said Ralph DeSio, a regional spokesman for the federal agency.
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It was unclear if one of the suspects had been killed by police after a high-speed police vehicle chase in the San Bernardino area, or if any of the suspects was in the vehicle, CNN reported. Someone in the vehicle reportedly fired shots out the back window at police. Local media said one police officer might have been wounded.
Local school officials told parents not to worry about students. "We reassure you that our students are safe. As a precaution, no one is allowed into any of our campuses for the time being. The incident unfolding near the San Bernardino Golf Course is not near our schools. Schools will be dismissed as usual," school officials wrote on a Facebook page.
Law enforcement officials provided few details. “Upwards of 14 people are dead and upwards of 14 people are injured,” said Chief Jarrod Burguan of the San Bernardino Police Department during a news conference. “There is no known motive for the shooting at this point,” he added, referring to the shooting as an act of “domestic terrorism.”
“These were people who came prepared. They were armed with long guns, not handguns.” Burguan said.
David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles office of the FBI, refused to immediately classify the shooting as terrorism. “Right now we do not know,” he said during the news conference.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama renewed his repeated call for tougher gun safety laws and enforcement of stronger background checks after the shooting. "There are steps we can take to make Americans safer, and we should come together on a bipartisan level to make these rare as opposed to normal," he said. "We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world."