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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Expert, students weigh in on San Bernardino shooting

Editor’s note: This story is breaking and developments will continue. Information presented in this piece is subject to change as details come to light in the continuing investigation.
At least 14 people were killed and 17 were injured after a mass shooting took place in San Bernardino, California around 11 a.m. local time Wednesday.
The shooting took place at the Inland Regional Center, a developmental disability support center. According to the CEO of the center, the attack took place in a conference room within the large facilities that had been rented out to the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for a banquet. The Los Angeles Times reported the room can hold up to 200 people.
The attack was very brief, lasting only minutes, and San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan reported the suspects came into the room with “long guns” wearing military-like garb and then fleeing the scene in a dark SUV.
For roughly the next four hours, police and the FBI worked to locate the suspects involved with the attack. Officials responded to a tip of a vehicle matching the description, which led them to a shootout near San Bernardino and Tippecanoe Avenues after the suspects were spotted wearing tactical gear matching the description of witnesses.
After the shootout, two suspects — one male, later identified as Syed Farook, and one female — were killed, and one suspect fled the scene to be later detained by police. The suspect remained in custody at time of press.
FBI and local authorities cannot confirm at time of press whether or not the attacks were acts of terrorism, but Danny Davis, director of the graduate certificate in Homeland Security Program and terrorism expert at the Bush School said the organization of the attacks leads him to believe it may be, although he is not positive.
“It strikes me as a pretty well-planned operation,” Davis said. “It’s not like some deranged guy just going in and opening up fire … But I’m still not ready to say, I’m leaning in that direction I think is the strongest I would say.”
Davis said what will define the California attack as terrorism or not is the motivation of the suspects.
“If it has a political, social, religious motivation behind it, and it’s by a group or an individual, that would be a terroristic attack,” Davis said. “An act of violence, a mass shooting without that motivation would be more just along the lines of what I think would be mass murder or deranged, violent behavior by someone.”
The Los Angeles Times reported a man named Syed Farook is employed by the San Bernardino County Health Department, but it was not clear at time of press whether or not this is the same person as the suspect who was killed.
Police identified the residence of the Farook, and sent in a robot to check for explosives and other materials that could harm police officers. Davis said the case is still developing and local authorities will be investigating the motives of the suspects likely for the next few days in order to get the full picture of why the attacks took place.
“Once it’s safe, they’ll enter and they’ll grab computers, any kind of cell phones, documents all the evidence that they can gather and they’ll start their analysis of all that stuff to continue the investigation,” Davis said. “They’ll be trying to be linking the two suspects, try to find other people that are associated with these two dead folks [to determine] if this is a terrorist cell, or was this just two to three people who acted, I think with with premeditation, but on their own.”
President Barack Obama spoke on the shootings early on in the situation, calling for gun control reforms.
“We don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are but what we do know is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer,” Obama said in an interview with CBS News.
Miranda Rihn, a finance sophomore, said she believes stricter gun control is not the response to situations such as this.
“[The national response] is going to be that we need gun control, when it should be the opposite. People with guns who know how to use them can protect innocents,” Rihn said.
Davis said the political debates that will come out of this tragedy will be nothing new.
“You’re going to have one side of the aisle come up and say that we need more gun control, and the other side is going to say that we need to enforce the laws we’ve got and help the authorities be better prepared to take care of themselves,” Davis said. “It’s going to be your usual fighting and bickering, back and forth.”
USA Today reported over 200 mass killings have occurred in the United States since 2006. Kaylee Williams, special education junior, said these killings happen so often people have grown numb to the story.
“I think people will talk about it for awhile and then blow it off because so many tragedies like this have happened,” Williams said.

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