Family and friends of a 27-year-old woman killed in last week's mass shooting in San Bernardino gathered Thursday afternoon for an outdoor service, the first funeral for a victim in the tragedy.
Yvette Velasco, 27, was a San Bernardino County environmental health specialist. The youngest of four close sisters, Velasco was set to receive her official health inspector badge at a holiday event with co-workers Dec. 2 at the Inland Regional Center.
Instead, she was killed.
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A coworker and his wife stormed the gathering with semi-automatic rifles, fatally shooting Velasco and 13 others. Family members said they searched in vain for Velasco after the shooting, calling hospitals, police and evacuee centers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Family members described Velasco as "loved by all who knew her." The service at a cemetery in Covina included several large portrait-style photos of Velasco.
Thursday's ceremony marks the start of a grim procession expected to take place throughout Southern California over the next week. About a dozen memorial services will be held for those killed in the attack.
Hundreds gathered in Fontana Wednesday night to remember Velasco and the other victims.
Earlier Wednesday, victims' families were escorted to the site of the shooting to pay tribute and recover personal items.
FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the two shooters — Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik — were radicalized well before Malik came to the U.S. on a fiancee visa and had discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013.
The disclosure means Malik's radicalization had already begun when she applied for a visa to come to the U.S. to get married, and that the government's vetting process apparently failed to detect it.
Comey said he didn't know enough to say whether weaknesses in the visa process enabled Malik to enter the U.S.
Malik moved from Pakistan to the U.S. in July 2014 and married Farook the following month. Farook was born in Chicago in 1987 and raised in southern California.
Comey said the couple was clearly inspired by a foreign terror organization, but that investigators did not yet know whether their online courtship was arranged by such a group or developed naturally on its own.