Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik wreaked havoc by shooting innocents in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2, 2015. They left behind 14 fatalities and 21 people with injuries. The shooting also leaves countless individuals grieving. Additionally, in a shootout with police, Farook and Malik lost their lives as well. Agencies investigating the crime have not released any information about a possible motive. However, there are some things known at this time, such as the victims who lost their lives and those who loved them.
The deceased were between the ages of 26 and 60. Most of the victims were employees of the Health Department for San Bernardino, who were at the Inland Regional Center for an event. Below are their names and brief descriptions, which were provided by the Los Angeles Times.
- Robert Adams, 40, was married to his high school sweetheart and left behind a 20-month-old daughter.
- Isaac Amanios, 60, was an immigrant from Eritrea, Africa, who moved to California in 2000. He was married and had three children in college.
- Bennetta Betbadal, 46, left behind a husband and three children ages 10, 12, and 15 years old. She was a Christian woman and fled Iranian persecution when she was 18 years old.
- Harry Bowman, 46, left behind two children.
- Sierra Clayborn, 27, was unmarried but shared an apartment with her boyfriend. The apartment manager where she lived reminisced, “When I think of Sierra, only one word comes to mind: She was a lady. That’s not a word I use lightly. She was a super, super lady.”
- Juan Espinoza, 50, left behind two children and his wife. He immigrated from Sonora, Mexico when he was in his 20s.
- Aurora Godoy, 26, was a young mother and wife. She had only been married three years and had a 23-month-old son.
- Shannon Johnson, 45, was not married. However, his girlfriend said, Johnson and Farook, one of the shooters, enjoyed talking about religion together. She also said Johnson loved working in the inspection department “because he said it was like working in the United Nations.”
- Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42, was the only fatality who did not work for the Health Department. He worked in the Inland Regional Center’s, Coffee N More. He left behind his boyfriend, Ryan Reyes.
- Damian Meins, 58, had recently returned to work at the San Bernardino Environmental Health Department after being in retirement from his 28-year career, in 2010.
- Tin Nguyen, 31, immigrated from Vietnam with her mother when she was eight years old. The Cal State Fullerton graduate had worked as a health inspector for over four years. She and her boyfriend, San Trinh, were planning to marry in 2017. He said, “If I could tell people anything from this experience, I’d say: Whatever you’re planning, don’t push it off. Get it done.”
- Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, was married. His wife said, “He was a very devout believer.” She explained that she knows “he’s in a much better place [now, because of his faith].”
- Yvette Valasco, 27, had worked for the county since 2014. Her family expressed she was, “full of life and loved by all who knew her.”
- Michael Raymond Wetzel, 37, was married with six children. One of his friends described him as being great with kids. He was a soccer coach for five-year-old girls and was frequently seen with all his children in tow while running errands.
Friends and family members talked about how devastated they were by the tragedy. Among those left grieving, after the shooting in San Bernardino, are the children who lost parents. Family members waited a long time before learning the status of their loved ones.
Ryan Reyes shared his ordeal of not knowing the fate of Kaufman, his significant other, with Los Angeles Times reporter, Alan Zarembo. Dec. 2, 2015, began like any typical day; Reyes dropped Kaufman off at work, and they communicated throughout the morning via texts. The last message he received was at 10:37 a.m. PST.
He said, about an hour later, he heard from his sister. She texted him, “Hey Ry does Daniel work at the Regional Center in [San Bernardino]? Check the news.” Reyes’ phone calls to Kaufman went to voicemail, and the texts remained unanswered.
This was the beginning of a long 22 hours of conflicting reports, and finally, the news of Kaufman’s death.
Upon hearing the survivors were being transported to a community center, Reyes went there and waited. Later, he was told that his boyfriend was shot in the arm and receiving surgery. Kaufman was expected to live, authorities reported. Reyes and Kaufman’s uncle received this information from two different sources.
However, the officials at the community center could not tell them which hospital he was having surgery. Family and friends called hospitals. Nonetheless, Kaufman was not at any of them.
Finally, after all of the buses had dropped off the non-injured victims, officials asked Reyes for Kaufman’s physical description. They told him the deceased were still in the conference room at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
It was 10:38 a.m. on Dec. 3, 2015, before Reyes received the telephone call telling him that Kaufman was dead. Reyes told the reporter, “I’m so emotionally drained right now. I don’t know if I want to scream, cry or break a window.”
In the course of a few hours, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik changed the lives of many people. When the couple was shot and killed they left behind a six-month-old daughter. The suspects have left families lost concerning the motive behind the shootings in San Bernardino that created widows, widowers, children without parents, and an entire community in upheaval. Senselessly, 14 people were murdered, two suspects dead, and 21 people wounded. The shooting has left countless grieving.
By Cathy Milne
Edited by Jeanette Smith
The Los Angeles Times: San Bernardino shooting victims: Who they were
The Los Angeles Times: For victim’s boyfriend, 22 hours of conflicting reports, then heartbreak
Guardian Liberty Voice: Update San Bernardino Shooting Injury Count Now 21
Guardian Liberty Voice: San Bernardino Shooting: Police Live News Conference
Guardian Liberty Voice: San Bernardino Active Shooting
Featured Image Courtesy of Mike Shaffner’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License