At least 14 people have been killed and more wounded during a shooting attack on a centre for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California, police say.
Police are still hunting the shooters, saying as many as three men armed with rifles fled the scene in a black SUV.
“The preliminary number we have right now is that there are 14 people that are deceased. And our count is another 14 people that have been taken to various hospitals for significant injuries,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.
The shooting took place at the Inland Regional Centre, one of 21 facilities serving people with developmental disabilities run by the state.
A local ABC America reporter said a source had told him there had been three shooters armed with rifles at the scene.
A police spokeswoman said the centre was hosting an event when more than one gunman burst into the room and began firing. She said the suspects were heavily armed and in “military style” attire.
“I know there are fatalities. I don’t know the numbers on them,” Olivia Bozek, deputy public affairs officer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, told MSNBC.
“So far there’s one to three suspects that are still at large – nobody is in custody.”
Police at the scene said they were also responding to reports of a bomb being left in the centre.
It is understood the bomb squad robot is moving into the centre’s southern building.
Police chief Burguan said it was unclear what the motive for the shooting was but the gunmen had come to the facility prepared and armed with “long guns”.
The FBI said it was unclear if the shooting was a “terrorist incident”.
Footage from the scene earlier showed people leaving the scene of the shooting with their hands up.
Triage stations were set up outside the centre with police and SWAT teams seen surrounding the building.
Loma Linda University Medical Centre said it had received four adult patients and was expecting three more.
Nancy Lungren, spokeswoman for the California Department of Developmental Services said on an average day, doctors at the regional centres would be evaluating toddlers whose parents have concerns and case workers meeting with developmentally disabled adults.
She said the San Bernardino facility is one of the state’s largest and busiest.
President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting and said there were steps that could be taken to make Americans safer.
“We don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is there are steps we can take to make Americans safer and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal,” he said.
“We have a pattern now of mass shooting in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”
The shooting in California comes less than a week after a gunman killed three people and wounded nine in a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.