San Diego Responds To San Bernardino Shootings
San Diego Regional Center offices in Kearny Mesa, Carlsbad, Santee and National City will be closed again Thursday in response to a mass shooting that claimed 14 lives at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
On Wednesday, Ron Plotkin of the San Diego Regional Center said via Facebook the centers, which serve those with developmental disabilities, would be closed "for security for the staff, clients and services providers that frequent the SDRC offices."
"With shock and horror, we share the tragic mass shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center," he wrote. "Our hearts are open with supportive prayers to those in the cross-hairs of this senseless, horrific event."
All four regional offices in San Diego County were closed as a precaution, as was the Imperial County location. The closure is expected to be lifted Friday.
Carlos Flores, executive director of the center, said he couldn't believe the news of the shooting.
"I don't understand how an agency such as Inland Regional Center whose job is to care for people, to assist people with developmental disabilities — you know, one of the noblest causes in the state — how an organization like that could be targeted," Flores said.
Flores said each of the five local facilities were told to lock their doors when news of the shooting spread. He said that although the facilities will be closed Thursday, managers will meet to reassess security measures.
Flores said all non-public areas in the center require key card access.
Wednesday's attack at the San Bernardino treatment center for those with developmental disabilities— which left 14 people dead and 21 others injured — was the deadliest since the Sandy Hook massacre three years ago. A motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.
The two suspects — later identified as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, — allegedly stormed into the nonprofit on South Waterman Avenue and opened fire around 11 a.m. Wednesday in a conference room where a holiday banquet for the county Department of Public Health was underway. Farook was a health department employee.
The suspects also planted explosive devices, but none went off, according to reports. Farook and Malik attempted to flee in a SUV, but were both killed in a shootout with police.
The Inland Regional Center employs about 670 people and serves 30,000 developmentally disabled individuals throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The agency is under contract with the California Department of Developmental Services.
Officials from the San Diego Blood Bank offered their assistance to LifeStream Blood Bank in San Bernardino to help supply blood to victims of the shooting. LifeStream was placed on lockdown during the shooting and was unable to continue blood collections, impacting the Inland Empire hospitals where victims were taken, according to the blood bank.
The San Diego Blood Bank told NBC7 that with shooting victims the need for blood is inevitable.
The San Diego Blood Bank asked residents to donate at local centers or mobile drives so they can supply blood to hospitals in need. To find a location call (800) 4-MY-SDBB.