14 killed in California mass shooting, Muslims condemn

World14 killed in California mass shooting, Muslims condemn

SAN BERNARDINO, United States: At least 14 people were killed in a gun attack on a holiday party in California on Wednesday, triggering a massive manhunt that ended when police shot dead two heavily armed suspects — a local Muslim man and a woman — on a quiet residential street.

San Bernardino police said a possible third suspect had been detained over the shooting, which took place at a social services building about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles.

The worst mass shooting to hit the United States in three years, the massacre drew an angry response from President Barack Obama, who once again urged Congress to pass tougher gun control measures to stem the spiral of violence.

The attackers were dressed in military-style gear and carried assault weapons as they burst into the auditorium where the bloodbath took place, lent out for the holiday party by the Inland Regional Center.

Beyond the 14 dead, the shooting left at least 17 people wounded, including 10 in critical condition. No details have yet been released on the victims’ identities, although police said they were not thought to include any children.

David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said authorities were not ruling out terrorism.

“I’m still not willing to say we know that for sure,” he told reporters.

Police chief Jarrod Burguan said authorities were looking at reports the shooting might be linked to a disgruntled employee taking part in the party.

“There was some type of dispute or something when somebody left the party, but we have no idea if those are the people that came back,” Burguan said.

California Muslims condemn ‘horrific’ mass shooting

California’s Muslim community expressed its horror on Wednesday at the mass shooting that killed at least 14 in San Bernardino, after a local Muslim man was widely identified as a suspect.

Syed Farook, a US citizen who worked for the town’s health department, is believed to have been killed in a shootout with police hours after opening fire inside a Christmas party at a local social services center.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said its members “unequivocally condemn the horrific act that happened today.”

“The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans in repudiating any twisted mindset that would claim to justify such sickening acts of violence,” he added in a statement.

Authorities have drawn no connection between the attack and radical Islam at this stage in the investigation.

Farook’s brother-in-law, Farhan Kahn, came forward at the press conference to voice his shock at the notion his brother could have committed mass murder.

“I have no idea why he would do that,” a visibly shaken Khan told reporters, adding that he had last spoken with Farook about a week ago.

“I am in shock that something like this could happen,” said Khan, who is married to Farook’s sister. “I am very sad that people lost their lives.

Farook’s father, quoted by the New York Daily News tabloid, described his son as a devout Muslim.

“He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.”

Muzammil Siddiqi, the religious director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, also condemned the killings saying they were contrary to the teachings of Islam.

“We have condemned all violence everywhere because human life is previous,” he said. “And we respect and honor human life.”

According to local news reports Farook was employed by the San Bernardino County health department which is believed to have organized the party at the Inland Regional Center.

The attack on the party triggered a massive manhunt that ended when police shot dead two heavily armed suspects — a man, believed to be Farook, and a woman — on a quiet residential street.

Source: APP/AFP

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