SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – The nightmare began on Wednesday morning at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for developmentally disabled people in San Bernardino. That’s when Terry Pettit got a text message from his daughter, who was inside.
“Shooting at my work. People shot,” she wrote. “Pray for us. I am locked in an office.”
Around that time, Denise Peraza called her sister Stephanie Baldwin, thinking it might be time to say goodbye.
“As soon as the gunfire started, everyone dropped to the floor and they were underneath desks, and she was trying to shield herself with a chair, along with a man next to her,” Baldwin told CNN affiliate KABC. “Then, all of a sudden, she said she just felt [the bullet] going through her back.”
“I just want to tell you that I love you,” Peraza told Baldwin over the phone through tears.
Within minutes, officers stormed the building searching for an active shooter. They counted the dead — and shuttled the wounded out to triage.
“We had to come out with our hands up and be escorted across the street to the golf course,” a woman who works at the center told KCAL/KCBS.
“We stood there for hours, hours, witnessing clothing of deceased ones on the street, people crying, co-workers crying, us wanting to get to our children.”
Officials say Syed Rizwan Farook — who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out the San Bernardino shooting massacre — apparently was radicalized and in touch with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism.
Farook’s apparent radicalization contributed to his role in the mass shooting of 14 people Wednesday during a holiday party for the San Bernardino County health department, where Farook worked, sources said.
Farook and Malik were later killed during a shootout with police.