Calif. Developmental Disabilities Centers React to Shooting
Facilities across California that offer services to individuals with developmental disabilities temporarily closed Wednesday in the wake of a mass shooting at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
Background on Centers
Inland Regional Center is the largest of 21 such facilities that operate under a contract with the state (Miller, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 12/2).
They were established under the 1977 Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act to coordinate services for individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism and cerebral palsy (California Healthline, 11/30).
Details of Attack
An armed couple attacked a San Bernardino Department of Public Health holiday party Wednesday morning, killing 14 and wounding 21 others (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 12/3).. After a manhunt, police killed both suspects, one of whom authorities say was a department employee.
The holiday party was held at a conference space at Inland Regional Center, a not-for-profit that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities (Rogers et al., New York Times, 12/2).
The attack is the deadliest shooting in the U.S. since 2012 (Daubner et al., Washington Post, 12/3).
According to San Bernardino Police Department Chief Jarrod Burguan, one suspect, Syed Rizwan Farook -- an environmental inspector with the health department -- attended the holiday party on Wednesday morning but left the party "angry." He returned with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carrying guns and wearing "tactical clothes," Burguan said, adding that authorities are unsure of the motive, but have not ruled out terrorism.
"There had to be some degree of planning that went into this," Burguan noted (Nagourney et al., New York Times, 12/2).
After Farook and Malik fled the scene, the facility was put on lockdown and police arrived. Police later found the suspects, who were killed in a shootout.
Many victims of the shooting were taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and Loma Linda University Medical Center for care (Rubenfire, AP/Modern Healthcare, 12/2).
Other Facilities Locked Down, Advocates React
Following the shooting, officials said eight separate regional centers that provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities closed "out of an abundance of caution."
Phil Bonnet, executive director of the Alta California Regional Center, said, "We're just in a state of shock that a place that caters to taking care of California's most vulnerable citizens would be a target of something so heinous."
Anne Struthers, president of the Association of Regional Center Agencies' board, said, "The victims of today's shooting were connected to us by service to those in need."
Meanwhile, April Lopez, chair of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, in a statement called the shooting "a tragic and heartbreaking moment for the disabled community in California" (Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 12/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.