‘Gunfire Was Just Erupting': Man, Woman Killed in Gun Battle Near Mass Shooting Scene

Police fatally shot a heavily armed couple in an SUV as part of a massive manhunt after a Southern California massacre left 14 people dead and 17 wounded Wednesday.

Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, were killed in the gun battle, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said. The pair is suspected of shooting up a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center, a social services provider in San Bernardino where three explosive devices were later found.

Farook and Malik were either married or engaged, police said. Farook was born in the U.S. and worked for San Bernardino County for five years and was a restaurant inspector for the health department, public records show. Police did not provide more details about Malik. 

Authorities searched for hours for up to three gunmen before they apparently made contact with suspects in the nearby city of Redlands, beginning a pursuit. The man and woman who were killed were dressed in "assault-style clothing" and each armed with assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns, Burguan said.

One officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to a department spokeswoman.

The shootout lit up the neighborhood for several tense minutes in what sounded like "a war going on," according to a witness interviewed in his back yard in San Bernardino, east of Lost Angeles. 

"At least five, 10 minutes they were shooting constantly. Gunfire was just erupting," said Steve Esquivel, adding that he and a friend ducked for cover during the firefight. "There were a few explosions. It quieted down for a second here and then it just erupted again, like they didn't get them with the explosions or something."

Much of the country was watching as police — in more than one military-style vehicle — cautiously approached Farook and Malik's bullet-ridden SUV, while President Barack Obama was briefed on the violence. Earlier in the day, he called for "common-sense gun safety laws" to help limit the number of mass shootings in the country.

Officers were seen hunting for another suspect in the area, and Burguan later said a third person seen running from the shootout was detained, but it wasn't clear if that person was connected to the shooting.

Two long guns and two pistols with serial numbers were recovered in connection with the shootout, according to Meredith Davis with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. An ATF tweet said "urgent traces" were being done on the guns.

A newspaper reporter for the Riverside Press-Enterprise was caught up in the pursuit of the dark-colored SUV, he wrote.

"As I was going down San Bernardino, I heard a thundering sound. I didn’t recognize the sound as gunfire. Then I heard something strange, a whizzing sound go by my car," David Danelski wrote.


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He began taking pictures of police running with guns drawn before an officer ordered him to clear the street.

The 14 people confirmed dead in Wednesday's shooting make it the deadliest violence in the U.S. since the mass shooting at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in 2012, where 26 died.

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