The Ripple Effect
Although somewhat relieved learning that some colleagues were ok, I was still on edge. No matter what, life had changed. The shooting at the Inland Regional Center was impacting many near and far.
The IRC serves over 31,000 individuals including those with developmental disabilities, epilepsy, autism, and cerebral palsy. How was this affecting them and their services? Were any of them onsite during the attack?
Events were being cancelled, meetings rescheduled, schools and businesses staying closed or reopening, and the San Bernardino County offices were down to essential personnel until Monday. At first, IRC was to reopen on Monday, but dates kept changing and now are set after the holidays to allow for a thorough investigation. Other regional centers had closed temporarily as a result of this tragedy.
One new event, though, had just been scheduled…a candlelight vigil at the Inland Empire 66ers stadium.
Over the last 24 hours, stories had changed so many times. From 1-3 gunmen initially to the 3rd gunman running loose in San Bernardino that afternoon. It was later determined that he was not involved with the event. And there was one question the police wouldn’t answer–was this an act of terrorism? By Friday, they did deem the IRC shooting as an act of terrorism.
I had initially heard that the gunmen had gone to the 2nd floor making me extremely worried for my friends who worked up there. Later, I learned that the shooting was actually at a holiday party for the Department of Public Health in the conference room on the 1st floor. The lingering question remained, who were the 14 individuals who were no longer with us? Did I know any of them?
No matter what, friends, family, and co-workers had lost those close to them. Life had changed.
Inland Regional Center Victim Names Get Released
As the day went on, I looked for more announcements. I still caught myself pacing and having problems concentrating. I was told by a colleague that all IRC staff were ok. I debated going to the Mingle Bells event as planned, or going to the candlelight vigil, but I just wasn’t ready to go to San Bernardino yet.
I left the house not knowing who all had been lost. Perhaps by the 11 pm news, they’d have all the names of the victims. I had just parked to go to Mingle Bells when I got a message from a friend about a posting on the coroner’s website. All the victim’s names had been released.
Sitting in my car, I pulled up the list of the 14 whose lives were lost, whose families lives had been changed. Most names I didn’t recognize, but I knew I’d have to see a picture to know for sure. One name stuck out though, Daniel Kaufman, from the coffee shop. I’d been worried about Daniel and the other coffee shop employees. Of course, I didn’t know his last name. I did a quick search, got a picture, and it was him.
I cried. I called my boyfriend. I called my parents. And, I called a couple friends who might know Daniel. One did.
I had to recompose myself to go into Mingle Bells. It was held next to the Mission Inn during their Festival of Lights. I saw changes including road closures and increased security. This year, it was a mixture of celebration and remembrance as others also knew people involved. Even so, they had decided to bring people together that evening in lieu of canceling the event. Although tears were shed, there was much laughter too. Thank you!