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SAn Bernardino, CA - Anxious Family Members Await Word On Safety Of Loved Ones

Published on: December 2, 2015 09:17 PM
By: AP
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A man and his daughter who survived a shooting rampage that killed multiple people leave a community center after a brief interview with reporters in San Bernardino, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)A man and his daughter who survived a shooting rampage that killed multiple people leave a community center after a brief interview with reporters in San Bernardino, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

San Bernardino, CA - Sherry Esquerra held back tears Wednesday as she desperately tried to reach her daughter and son-in-law after shooters killed 14 people and wounded as many more at the building where her daughter works with children with disabilities.

Esquerra had Thanksgiving with her daughter last week and expected to see her Friday. She was hoping the two turned up safe at a community center where people who were unharmed were being bused, but she was having no luck reaching her by cellphone.

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“Nothing, I just get her message,” she said. “Straight to voicemail.”

More than 600 people work at the Inland Regional Center, which serves 30,000 people with disabilities ranging from autism to cerebral palsy to epilepsy, from newborns to people in their 90s. Social workers help the adults find jobs, housing and transportation, said Stacy McQueen, a member of the center’s board of trustees.

“It’s terrible. It’s a terrible thing that’s happened here,” said McQueen, who was trying to find out why the center was attacked. “All of us are heartbroken.”

At the time of the shooting, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health was holding a banquet in a conference room.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers and SWAT teams swarmed the area around the two office buildings for hours and it took several hours before they provided a briefing with casualty counts.

Those inside the building who reached family members described a tense situation, hiding behind locked doors and turning off lights so they wouldn’t be found.

People who were near a shooting rampage that killed multiple people at a social services center, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, leave a community center after they reunited with friends and family in San Bernardino, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)People who were near a shooting rampage that killed multiple people at a social services center, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, leave a community center after they reunited with friends and family in San Bernardino, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

“She was whispering,” said Olivia Navarro, whose daughter, Jamile Navarro is a case manager at the center. “She was whispering and she said they were in a room, locked up because there were shooters.”

Navarro’s voice quivered as she described how her daughter told her she was going to turn off the lights and hang up in case the shooters arrived.

“I said, ‘All right, I’ll be there, turn off the lights, don’t make a sound.’ And that was it.”

Her daughter eventually made it out safely.

Marissa Gutierrez said she began crying when she got a text message from her aunt, Regina Kuruppu, at 11:10 a.m. saying there was a shooting at work and she was scared.

Gutierrez tried calling for more than an hour, but couldn’t reach her as she hid in a closet. Police eventually found her there and she got out safely.

Law enforcement officers escort people onto a bus as they are evacuated from the scene of a shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, USA, 02 December 2015. A shooting at a government building west of Los Angeles left 'upwards of 14 people' dead and at least 14 wounded, San Bernardino Police Chief Jerrod Burguan says.  EPA/MIKE NELSONLaw enforcement officers escort people onto a bus as they are evacuated from the scene of a shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, USA, 02 December 2015. A shooting at a government building west of Los Angeles left 'upwards of 14 people' dead and at least 14 wounded, San Bernardino Police Chief Jerrod Burguan says.  EPA/MIKE NELSON

Sheela Stark, a board member at the center, was trying to reach more than a dozen colleagues and workers, but had only heard back from one early in the day.

She was trying to stay positive by watching the news on TV and looking for familiar faces. By late afternoon she had managed to reach most everyone.



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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 02, 2015 at 09:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Nebech. Yidden get your gun permits while you still can.

2

 Dec 02, 2015 at 09:35 PM Facts1 Says:

Obama is now in the spin room seeing how he can stall releasing the nationalities of the attackers and how he can somehow reinvent the wheel on this, creating some ambiguous narrative until the public emotions subsides.

He just needs a week of stalling and he's good.

3

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