Updated at 9:50 a.m. Dec. 3, 2015
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.
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.
San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Francine Busby said the shooting in San Bernardino hits close to home for many San Diegans who have ties there.
“It is time that we acknowledge these acts as a form of terrorism,” Busby said. “It is time that we focus attention and resources to protect American lives at home with the same determination that we do abroad. It is time for our leaders to stand up, grow a collective backbone and organize to defeat the gun lobby and bring about common sense reforms that would save lives. When our hopes are not enough, our voices and our votes are the only way to stop this madness.”
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said in a statement it was time to “come together and see the light as a nation to stop this kind of thing from happening.”
“We mourn for those who were killed, we pray for those who were injured, we grieve for those who loved the lost, and we hold our own loved ones a little tighter,” she said. “Part of us, sadly, also instinctively wants to start steeling ourselves for the news of the next one to come.”
— City News Service