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Police Continue Investigation Into San Bernardino, Calif., Shootings

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

We've been giving you updates all evening about the mass shooting there in San Bernardino, Calif., and we will leave you now with the latest on what we know on this still-developing story. For that, we will turn to NPR's national security editor Phil Ewing, who is with me from Washington. And, Phil, let's run it down. What is - what is the latest that we know about what happened today?

PHIL EWING, BYLINE: So in this mass shooting in San Bernardino today, 14 people were left dead. At least 17 people were injured when at least two gunmen entered apparently some kind of conference that was taking place at a center focusing on helping people with developmental disabilities. They fled that scene. Police surrounded a home connected with one of the people involved, and then the two suspects apparently fled that home. While that chase was taking place, they got into a gunfight with police officers which left two suspects in that car - a man and a woman - dead. We also know from local law enforcement they've arrested a third person, but we don't know yet what kind of connection he or she might have to this case.

MCEVERS: And police said that that address that they were investigating was, you know, something that they got from the scene. And is there any more word on that - on that part of the investigation?

EWING: Well, there's some initial indications in the reporting that the persons involved may have been connected with this event that was taking place there. But we don't know with any fidelity right know what kind of details actually may have linked those two or what the connection might have been. But clearly, police were able to get from this person who was involved with this event to this address elsewhere in Southern California and then ultimately run across these suspects and get into this firefight with them in their car.

MCEVERS: And we heard earlier from an FBI official who is there - the FBI is also investigating this case - that they do not want to call this terrorism, but that they have made some adjustments in their investigation. Do we have any more word on that?

EWING: Well, it was a very cryptic statement in a press conference earlier. But we also know from that same press conference that there was at least one explosive device at this center, that witnesses said they saw a pipe bomb being thrown from this car that was stopped by police and that there have been explosive ordinance disposal technicians all along with this investigation, including agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And it could be that the scale of this attack - the fact that these attackers had flak vests, that they were using assault weapons, that they had these explosives or suspected explosives - gave the FBI cause to talk that way at the press conference earlier.

MCEVERS: Are officials saying anything else about motive at this time?

EWING: That is the big question here. And as this investigation goes forward - and it is a big one because it covers a lot of ground geographically, in terms of the jurisdictions involved - they're going to try to wrap their arms around that as they talk with witnesses, as they look at this person's history - these people's histories, I should say - and look at the physical evidence in this case.

MCEVERS: And we talk about an event that was happening. The shooting happened at an event at this center. Do we know more about what kind of event that was? We know that county employees were there at the event.

EWING: Yeah, that's right. We don't know if it was a morale gathering or a holiday party. There've been indications it may have been one or the other. We don't know from officials exactly what it was. But we know this was a conference center that's connected to this Inland Resource Center. And we believe that these people may have just been using this room, which is where the shooting took place.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's national security editor Phil Ewing. Thank you so much.

EWING: Thank you.

MCEVERS: And just to recap, we are following the story now of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. - happened at 11 a.m. Pacific Time with an alarm and then a call to police. Police say three shooters were involved. Two of those suspects are now dead. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.