Mourning and memories one year after San Bernardino terrorist attack


San Bernardino on Friday marked the first anniversary of a terrorist attack that left 14 dead with a variety of services and remembrances.

The city is sponsoring a “Night of Remembrance” at 6:30 p.m. at Cal State San Bernardino’s Coussoulis Arena.

“Our community continues to stand together united in solidarity and support for the victims, survivors, and families of those affected by the December 2nd terrorist attack,” Mayor R. Carey Davis said in a statement.

A memorial bicycle ride is planned to the IRC Friday morning.

A special lighting formation in the hills above San Bernardino to memorialize the victims is also planned.

‘God Bless America’ concludes San Bernardino memorial

A night of remembrance Friday at Cal State San Bernardino for the 14 people killed on Dec. 2, 2015, concludes with “God Bless America.”


Survivor talks of her friends killed in terrorist attack as San Bernardino remembers

Speakers at a night of remembrance at Cal State San Bernardino on Friday evening expressed a profound sense of loss for the 14 people killed on Dec. 2, 2015 and offered their thanks to the community that rallied together after the attack to do whatever they could to help.

Pastor Sandy Tice, of First Presbyterian Church in San Bernardino, opened the ceremony with an invocation.

“In this moment we say thank you for those who came running to help,” she said, “for those who remembered us, who reached out in love, who prayed. Thank you.”

Julie Swann-Paez, who was shot in the attack and spent a month in the hospital, paid tribute to each of the victims, all but one of whom were her co-workers in San Bernardino County’s Department of Public Health.

Of Aurora Godoy, 26, the mother of a young son, she said “She was a mom who loved being a mommy.”

Bennetta Betbadal, 46, Swann-Paez said, “radiated warmth and a loving spirit.” Isaac Amanios, 60, “always had a warm smile for everyone. He was always kind.” And Shannon Johnson ended his life “as a hero, when he protected my friend Denise and told her ‘I got you,’” she said.

“Kindness, compassion, love and gratitude. To me those are the basic threads of humanity. All of my friends, who I just spoke about, embodied these traits,” she said.

Swann-Paez was followed by San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan, who urged those gathered not “to let the evil of that day define us.”

“There’s two evil people that started the narrative of that day, a story about San Bernardino, a chapter in our lives,” he said. “They do not get to finish that story. We do. This is our city. This is our story.”

Speaking to victims and their families, U.S. Atty. Eileen Decker said: “Your strength, your courage and your heart has been inspiring.”


San Bernardino police chief says city won’t let two ‘evil people’ finish the story

San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told people gathered at a memorial that the city will write its story and not the terrorists.

“Two evil people started the narrative of Dec. 2, but we can finish the story,” the chief said.

“Let love win the day. Let’s show the world – the world that is still watching us that terror will not win,” Burguan said.

“We can be stronger than ever and we can win… this is our city. This city is our story,” he said.


‘Imagine’ echoes through the auditorium as San Bernardino remembers its loss

The memorial service at Cal State San Bernardino began Friday with a rendition of “Imagine” by John Lennon with thousands on hand to remember the 14 shot to death by terrorists a year ago.


‘You hear of these things happening elsewhere, in other countries, and here it hit home’

On Friday evening, hundreds of people gathered under heavy security at Cal State San Bernardino for the largest memorial gathering of the day.

City residents, local politicians, school representatives and many others filled the seats of the school’s basketball arena.

The service began with John Lennon’s Imagine.

A number of locals said they had been deeply affected by the attack and its aftermath.

“You hear of these things happening elsewhere, in other countries, and here it hit home, where you thought you would be safe,” said Eva Flores Mermilliod, who was born and raised in San Bernardino. “A year has passed and these families have suffered so much and our community has suffered so much.”

Irene Carrasco, 56, of San Bernardino said she had felt sadness through the day.

It’s “still sad,” she said. “Sad about the families of the ones killed and also the ones that survived.”

But she was proud, she said, of the way the city united after the attack, with residents donating blood, gathering at memorials and offering whatever help they could.

“I think the community came together on that day and since that day,” she said.


San Bernardino memorial getting underway soon; candles bear victims’ names

Hundreds of people are beginning to filter into the arena at Cal State San Bernardino, where a memorial event for those killed in the 2015 terrorist attack is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Guests are being handed electric candles with the names of the 14 victims of last year’s attack, as well as paper cranes. A middle school class in Florida made 1,000 origami cranes after the attack and mailed them to the city of San Bernardino, which is distributing them Friday.

There’s also a heavy security presence. All guests had to go through metal detectors, and officers were stationed throughout the arena.


First Times photographer at San Bernardino mass shooting recalls a mad dash with police

Because Times photographer Gina Ferazzi likes golf, she captured an important moment during last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

The site of the bloodshed, the Inland Regional Center, is across the street from San Bernardino Golf Club, where Ferazzi has played, and which she thought could allow her closer access to the crime scene.

She navigated stealthily through familiar greens and traps — and came upon employees from the IRC. They were huddled together, praying, on the fairway of the second hole.

That image was among the first of several memorable ones Ferazzi caught on Dec. 2, 2015, the Wednesday that Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, killed 14 and wounded 22.

Ferazzi had been scheduled for the night shift, and, in the late morning, was gradually getting into gear. Then she saw the message from photo editor Robert St. John: mass shooting, San Bernardino.

She was on her way.

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Peace garden honors CSUSB alums killed in terror attack

Three hours before a community memorial for the Dec. 2 attack was expected to bring thousands to Cal State San Bernardino, a smaller group, including several family members of the victims, gathered on the opposite end of campus to inaugurate a peace garden in memory of the five victims of the attack who were Cal State alumni.

“A year ago the unimaginable happened in our very own city,” said Alex Gutierrez, president of the school’s Associated Students group. “Today we convene for comfort and healing.”

A bell with the names of the five alumni stood at the center of the garden, and a quote attributed to Albert Einstein was etched on a wall:

“Peace cannot be kept by force,” it said. “It can only be achieved by understanding.”

An official rang the bell 14 times at the start of the ceremony and 14 times at its end.

It will remain silent until next year when it will again ring 14 times, officials said.


Pain, pride and memories as San Bernardino remembers 14 lives lost

The Inland Regional Center, where 14 people lost their lives in a terrorist attack one year ago, is the focal point of daytime prayers, flowers and tears. Times photographer Francine Orr documents a tough day for the Inland Empire city.


San Bernardino pastor reflects on a year of change in Inland Empire city

Pastor Joshua Beckley of the Ecclesia Christian Fellowship Church spoke at a candlelight vigil the day after a terrorist attack killed 14 people and 22 were seriously injured in 2015. One year later, he reflects on the city and how it has changed.

A year ago, he told a massive gathering that San Bernardino was a “city full of hopeful optimists.” In those days and months since, he has become a symbolic leader of the community dealing with the best of days and the worst of days.

Pastor Joshua Beckley of the Ecclesia Christian Fellowship Church spoke at a candlelight vigil the day after a terrorist attack killed 14 people and 22 were seriously injured in 2015. A year later, he reflects on the city and how it has changed.


Hugs and signs of remembrance in San Bernardino

From the earliest hours Friday, people touched by the attack one year ago in San Bernardino began gathering to remember the victims and honor those who offered their help in a moment of terror.

Several gatherings were set to take place in the city throughout the day, each one reflecting the profound impact of the violence on the lives of victims’ families, first responders, county employees and many others throughout the region.

Fourteen people were killed and 22 wounded on Dec. 2, 2015, when a county employee and his wife entered an office holiday celebration in a conference center at the Inland Regional Center and opened fire.

Friday morning, members of law enforcement and their supporters met at San Bernardino Police Department headquarters for a 14-mile bike ride — each mile representing a victim of the attack.

The ride concluded at the Inland Regional Center, where employees and others had gathered in front of the conference center for a moment of silence and memorial ceremony.

A large memorial gathering for the community is scheduled Friday evening at Cal State San Bernardino.

“We’re here to remember those who lost their lives and remember those who were injured,” said San Bernardino police Sgt. Emil Kokesh, who helped organize the bike ride and was among the first responders on Dec. 2.

“It was one of the most tragic things our department has ever had to respond to,” he said. “It’s something that the first responders who were there … are never going to forget.”

At the Inland Regional Center, dozens of employees were among those who participated in a moment of silence, which began just before 10:58 a.m. — the time dispatchers received the first 911 call.

A bell rang 14 times for each of the victims.

“A year has passed and we continue to heal,” said Lavinia Johnson, executive director of the regional center, which coordinates services for more than 30,000 people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42, who ran a coffee shop at the regional center, was killed in the attack. One year later, the conference center remains closed for repairs but there are plans to reopen it sometime next year, officials said.

County employees Paula Garcia and Zen Martinsen, said they took time off work to attend the ceremony.

They were working at a county office in Yucaipa when the attack took place.

Garcia remembered listening to broadcast coverage and feeling helpless.

“You can’t do anything to help but pray,” she said.

One year on, the attack continues to have a deep impact on county employees, both women said.

“The thoughts never stop,” Garcia said.

They made a point of attending Friday morning’s memorial, she said, “to show support, and to grieve for our family.”


Starbucks that became a hub of activity after terror attack marks anniversary

In the wake of last year’s terror attack, a San Bernardino Starbucks near the Inland Regional Center because a central meeting place.

Police and first responders took breaks there, and many journalists wrote stories and transmitted photos and information from there.

Employees had a special message for the first responders on Friday, written on a board at the coffee house.

“Let us remember the loved ones lost too soon and the first responders of the attack,” the message said. “San Bernardino Strong, Always.”


Cyclists mark San Bernardino terror anniversary with bike ride

One of the memorials to the one-year anniversary of the San Bernardino shootings involved hundreds of people riding their bicycles to the Inland Regional Center, the site of the terror attack.

Here’s a dispatch from the Associated Press:

Since the attack, San Bernardino Police Sgt. Emil Kokesh said he also has been reminded of the need to stay fit. Kokesh arrived at the scene of the onslaught minutes after the shooting and was there for more than a day. He said he was sore for two weeks, which prompted him to take up cycling to get in shape with some fellow officers.

That led to the memorial bike ride held Friday.

“On that day, it pushed a lot of us to our limits physically, mentally, and emotionally,” he said. Now, Kokesh said he often reminds his fellow officers: “You may work in an office, you may do investigations, and not do much field work anymore, but you are going to be the ones who respond to something like this, so stay fit, stay prepared.”


‘We will never forget this day’

At the moment when shooters unleashed terror on San Bernardino a year ago, county employees remembered their fallen colleagues with a moment of silence late Friday morning.

A bell rang 14 times in memory of each person slain in the terror attack that also wounded 22 others at the Inland Regional Center.

“We will never forget that day or the victims of this senseless act of violence. We strive to move forward and search for the good that is in us all,” said Lavinia Johnson, executive director of the center.

Earlier, cyclists conducted a 14-mile bike ride -- one mile for each person who was killed.


Remembering victims of terror


Crowds gather to remember terror attack victims

A memorial ceremony to honor the victims of the San Bernardino terror attack is underway.

It was being held at the Inland Regional Center, where a year ago a couple opened fire, killing 14 people in what was at the time the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

More memorials are planned during the day, including one this evening at Cal State San Bernardino.


Paying their respects to San Bernardino terror victims

Schoolgirls place flowers at a memorial to the victims of the San Bernardino terror attack. Photo by the Press-Enterprise.


Some San Bernardino victims feel left alone

A year after the terror attacks, some county employees who were victims, including witnesses and those who were physically injured, say pledges of support promised by government officials have not come true.

In interviews and at a recent public meeting, employees described struggling to cope with a callous county bureaucracy that provided little comfort as they tried to heal. Instead, they were left scrambling for help and tangling with a county-administered workers’ compensation program that has led to delays and denials of needed medication and treatment, the employees said.

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Preparing for memorial