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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Obama Visits San Bernardino After Shooting

LOS ANGELES (CN) - President Barack Obama on Friday evening visited the families of the 14 people killed on Dec. 2 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, and said the nation must remain "vigilant" in preventing terrorism and mass shootings.

The president's meeting with the grieving relatives and first responders at local Indian Springs High School stretched for nearly three hours. Afterwards, the president made a few remarks to the traveling pool of reporters who accompanied him from Washington, D.C.

First Lady Michelle Obama, who accompanied the president, did not make any public comments, nor were the reporters granted any access to those who attended the meeting.

"It was moving for Michelle and myself in part because it was so representative of the country," the president said, noting that the families came from every background and every faith.

He went on to describe the families as "representative of the strength and the unity and the love in this community."

"Many of them are already taking initiatives to reach out, to speak out on behalf of community and tolerance and treating people with respect. Many were interested in how we can prevent shootings like this from happening in the future," said Obama.

"We have to remind ourselves of the overwhelming good that exists out there," he said. "Despite the pain and the heartache that they're feeling, [the families and the first responders] could not have been more inspiring.

The president said his visit to San Bernardino, "was a reminder of what's good in this country."

"I hope that's something that gives all Americans a sense of pride and a sense of hope," he said.

Ryan Reyes' boyfriend Daniel Kaufman, 42, was killed in the shooting. Kaufman served coffee at the Inland Regional Center and worked with developmentally disabled clients.

"I could see that they were pained by what had happened," Reyes said of his meeting with Obama, according to the LA Times. "Even under the circumstances, I consider it an honor to have met the president."

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik also injured 22 after the mass shooting at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. Both were killed after authorities tailed their SUV and engaged in gun battle with couple on a city street.

This week, Farook's childhood friend Enrique Marquez was charged with conspiring to give material support to the couple after he allegedly bought two assault rifles and explosive materials used in the attack.

It is the first arrest in connection with the massacre.

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