By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (email@example.com)
SAN BERNARDINO, CA (ANS — December 4, 2015) — As details continue to emerge following Wednesday’s mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in the southern California city of San Bernardino, a team from Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has moved into the terror-stricken city that nestles close to the San Bernardino Mountains, to provide emotional and spiritual care.
The chaplains, who all live in California, were in San Bernardino within hours of the shooting, providing a ministry of presence to family members of the victims. At least 14 people were killed and 17 injured in the mass shooting—the deadliest one in the U.S. since the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., nearly three years ago.
“Please join me in praying right now for each one of the injured, the victims’ families, and the first responders,” BGEA president Franklin Graham said on Wednesday.
According to a news release from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BGRRT), the chaplains have been “welcomed into the community by local authorities.”
At this time, it is being reported that there are 14 fatalities, with 21 more injured.
The BBC reported that the gunmen, wearing military-style clothing and armed with long guns, opened fire at the Inland Regional Center, which helps adults with disabilities.
Witnesses said people locked themselves in offices as the gunfire rang out.
Hours after the attack, the BBC said, police hunting for the attackers riddled a black SUV with gunfire in a residential area several miles away.
The LA Times said, “The FBI formally announced it was investigating the shooting rampage Wednesday at the Inland Regional Center as an act of terrorism.
“FBI Director James Comey said that the assailants, Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, who both lived in nearby Redlands, showed signs of ‘radicalization’ but there was no evidence they were part of a larger terror network.
LA Times reporter, Paresh Dave, stated that one of the shooters pledged allegiance to an Islamic State leader on Facebook about the same time she and her husband opened fire at a holiday party, killing 14 people, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
“The source said Facebook discovered the post from Tashfeen Malik after searching its user database for the shooters’ names,” he said.
Franklin Graham, writing on his Facebook page, said, “I’m in California today, not far from San Bernardino where the mass shooting took place. Please join me in praying right now for each one of the injured, the victims’ families, and the first responders in this ongoing crisis.”
Jack Munday, international director of the BGRRT said in the news release, “Our hearts are broken for those who lost their lives, and particularly their families, following this shooting. We’re sending in a team to encourage the community, offering love, hope and support. A tragedy like this affects everybody.”
The response to San Bernardino is the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team’s third shooting-related deployment since October. Chaplains were also on-site at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Oct. 1, and just completed an internationally coordinated effort to Paris following the terrorist attacks there on Nov. 13.
About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 200 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
For more information on the ministry, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt .
Photo captions: 1) The shooters identified (http://kdvr.com). 2) Two women comforting each other in San Bernardino. 3) Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team praying together in Roseburg, Ore., in response to the shooting at Umpqua Community College. 4) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on “From Destitute to Ph.D.” are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com . Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact: Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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