Last Wednesday, students across the Claremont Colleges received an alert bulletin from Campus Safety, reading:
The City of San Bernardino is currently responding to an active shooter scenario in the approximate area of Waterman Avenue and Orange Show Road. The area is being responded to by several first-responder agencies.The Claremont Colleges are not at immediate risk or endangered by this emergency and the Department of Campus Safety continues to monitor the situation. Campus community members are encouraged to avoid this region of the City and County of San Bernardino and to also follow local and regional news for additional updates.
The attacks on the Inland Regional Center, less than thirty miles from the Claremont Colleges, claimed sixteen lives, including fourteen civilians. While initially eyewitness accounts suggested at least three shooters, the police later identified the two as a married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook, a native of Chicago, and his wife Tashfeen Malik. During the attack, Malik posted a since-removed Facebook status pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. The two died the same day as the attack in a shootout with the police later that day two blocks east of the original shooting site. Three of the fourteen victims had come to the United States to escape violence, religious persecution, and poverty in their home countries.
In the aftermath of the attacks, the FBI announced on Friday that it was treating the San Bernardino attack as a terrorist case, remarking that the case was inspired, but not directed by the Islamic State. President Obama, in his address on Sunday reiterated this sentiment, promising continued vigilance against the Islamic State. President Obama reminded viewers, however, that the Islamic State “does not speak for Islam”, and that his top priority is still the “security of the American people.”
A cursory investigation showed that the handguns were legally obtained from federally licensed dealers in the Inland Empire. While searching the couple’s Redlands townhouse, police found large stockpiles of weapons, including twelve pipe bombs. Though further targets remain unknown, investigators suspect that the couple had planned multiple attacks throughout Southern California.
No students or faculty of the Claremont Colleges were injured or killed in the attacks.