SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Friday marked the one-year anniversary of a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 14 people and wounded nearly two dozen others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
Shortly before 11 a.m., survivors, loved ones and colleagues gathered in front of Building 3, the site of the attack, for a moment of healing and reflection.READ MORE: 2 Long Beach Grocery Stores Shutting Down Saturday Over Hero Pay Law
“One year after the devastating and tragic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, we remember those who lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind,” Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said in a written statement. “We extend our support to those who were wounded and are working every day to rebuild their lives.”
“Today, we also honor the brave first responders who acted decisively and courageously, putting themselves in harm’s way to save lives,” Harris continued. “Californians will never forget the tragedy that took place or the bravery demonstrated by our law enforcement partners who put their lives on the line for our homeland security and for our safety.”
On Dec. 2, 2015, married Redlands couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik carried out what officials are calling the deadliest terrorist attack to occur since Sept. 11, 2001.
The pair opened fire on about 80 employees while attending a Christmas party that was being held in a conference room at the IRC.
Fourteen employees were killed and 22 others were hospitalized for treatment of injuries sustained in the shooting.
Farook and Malik were later killed during a shootout with police.
People around the Inland Empire stopped today to reflect on the tragedy.
CBS2’s Tina Patel spoke to people who still feel a sense of loss along with a loss of security.
“It could have been any of us,” said CSUSB student Julio Carrillo, “I feel like when that happened it made me realize it could have been me, it could have been one of my professors.”
Five of the victims were alumni of Cal State San Bernadino and the school on Friday afternoon dedicated a peace garden in their honor.
Across town, dozens rolled up their sleeves to donate blood at the blood bank down the street from the IRC in a show of unity and support the community displayed — as they did immediately following the massacre.
Others turned to their church to find healing.READ MORE: Armed Suspect Caught On Camera Robbing Group Of People In A West Hollywood Alley
“It’s hard for the families who are still dealing with it, healing, trying to heal,” said Nanette Chambers.
Deacon Mike Bellinder says he can relate to the people he’s trying to comfort. His daughter was working at the IRC on the day of the shooting.
“I went emotionally ballistic,” he said, “I thought she was being killed. I thought she was going to be taken from us. It was the longest day of my life, longest day of my life.”
His daughter survived and he said he knows how lucky she is when so many did not. He thinks the community will be able to move forward if they come together.
“I’m on a mission now to tell people how important it is to forgive one another,” the deacon said, “that’s why I wanted to come today. Forgiveness is the beginning of healing.”
To honor the date and their memory, men and women from law enforcement went on a 14-mile bike ride.
CBS2’s Michele Gile spoke to some of the participants who were eager to peddle on.
San Bernardino Police Sgt. Emil Kokesh joined in. A year ago, he was one of the first responders pulling victims out of the IRC.
“I still think about it,” he says, “talk about it every day. It’s something that will be with us for the rest of our lives.”
Yvette Velasco was one of the 14 killed that day. She was the daughter or a CHP officer who had retired a few months before the attack. His colleagues from CHP rode with her picture on their bikes.
“He had done 30 years on the highway patrol. He was getting ready to enjoy his retirement and his grandchildren. [Yvette] was his youngest daughter who passed away. We all feel for Robert,” said Lt. Eric Phipps.
To date, the conference building in the IRC has remained closed.
Officials anticipate the IRC will begin to utilize the conference building in early 2017. It is unclear how the floor space will be used, however, a café that was housed in the building is expected to reopen.
IRC Board of Trustees will resume meetings in the building once the remodel is completed.
There are also plans to dedicate a memorial, but details have not yet been released.MORE NEWS: Motive Unknown After 8 Killed At Indianapolis FedEx Facility
The IRC serves individuals with development disabilities, including intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism.