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At least 14 killed in mass shooting in California, gun attack almost daily occurrence in U.S.

(Xinhua)    16:24, December 03, 2015
At least 14 killed in mass shooting in California, gun attack almost daily occurrence in U.S.
Policemen guard near the scene of a shooting in San Bernardino City of Southern California, the United States, on Dec. 2, 2015. At least 14 people were killed and 14 others injured in a shooting Wednesday in San Bernardino City of Southern California and up to three shooters are still active, police said. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 -- At least 14 people were killed and 17 others were injured Wednesday after gunmen opened fire at a social services center in San Bernardino City of Southern California.

The mass shooting, which occurred only days after another high-profile gun attack in the U.S. state of Colorado, reinforces the impression that the U.S. society is facing a growing scourge of gun violence, with attacks happening almost on daily basis.

Both suspects, a man and a woman, have been identified, Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said on Wednesday.

"The first one is Syed, Rizwan, last name Farook. He is 28 years old. I am told that he is US-born," Burguan told a news conference. "The person that was with him is a female. Her name is Tashfeen, last name Malik. She is 27 years old." Both of them were killed in a shootout with police after the mass shooting.

Burguan noted that police no longer believed a third suspect was at large, saying, "We're pretty comfortable that the two shooters that went into the building are the two shooters deceased on San Bernardino Avenue."

He added the investigation into the shooting has not ruled out terrorism as a factor in the attack.

The San Bernardino Police Department got reports about multiple shootings at 10:59 a.m. local time (1859 GMT).

The shooters burst into a conference room which was rented by the San Bernardino Health Department to hold a banquet for its employees, and started shooting. They reportedly fled the scene in a black SUV.

During the manhunt, helicopters are seen hovering above the area and a SWAT police unit also appeared near the scene of the attack. Authorities ordered a security lockdown of all local schools, as well as city and county buildings, and area hospitals were placed on alert.

U.S. President Barack Obama was briefed about the shooting by Homeland Security officials.

"We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events, because it doesn't happen with the same frequency in other countries," said Obama, who has called several times for more strict gun control in the past few months.

Wednesday's attack is the deadliest the country has seen since Sandy Hook Elementary School attack in December 2012. In that attack that drew almost universal condemnation, the 20-year-old shooter used a semiautomatic rifle to slay 20 first graders and six adult school staff members, before killing himself.

The Washington Post, one of the most credible newspaper in the United States, recently made an account of gun attacks in the country that resulted in four casualties or more, after a gunman killed three and injured nine others at a clinic in Colorado last week.

According to the U.S. broadsheet, the United States has recorded 351 such gun attacks in the first 11 months this year, with 1.05 cases everyday on average.

Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the Obama administration began to push stronger gun control laws in vain.

The laws, whose sections included expanded background checks and bans on assault weapons, were stymied in Congress after staunch opposition from Republican lawmakers and gun-rights lobby groups.

In an interview earlier this year Obama called the failure to reform U.S. gun laws "one of the greatest frustrations" of his presidency.

Gun rights advocates said the shootings underscored the importance of the right of Americans to bear arms and defend themselves.

While in Congress, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee blocked a proposal on June 24 that would have reversed a ban passed by Congress in 1996 on funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence.

Republicans defended the panel's decision as to protect the rights granted by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The powerful lobbyist group, the National Rifle Association, has also played a role in pressuring the Congress to kill federal-funded studies by cutting the fund.

Despite the absence of large-scale and authoritative studies of gun violence, studies conducted by individual organizations found that the presence of guns were associated with an increasing possibility of gun-related deaths.

However, as experts said, many questions related to gun violence remain unanswered, including whether allowing people to carry weapons in certain public places affects the number of deaths.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Zhang Yuan,Bianji)

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