SUV in San Bernardino shooting had Utah tags, was rented in California

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

UPDATE: Officials have confirmed the SUV the suspects used in the San Bernardino shooting had a Utah license plate but the vehicle was rented days ago in California.

The shootings in San Bernardino were originally thought to have a possible Utah connection, as CNN reported the black SUV the suspects used to get away from police in while exchanging gunfire had Utah license plates.

Thursday morning California law enforcement confirmed the vehicle did have Utah tags but that the vehicle was rented in California days before the shooting.

Note: See below for a series of updates as they unfolded Wednesday, and click here for an overall recap of the mass shooting and secondary officer-involved shooting from CNN compiled as of Thursday.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Farhan Khan, the brother-in-law of the suspect Syed Farook, told reporters: "I have no idea why he would he do something like this. I have absolutely no idea. i am in shock myself." Khan said he last talked to Farook a week ago.

ATF tells CNN that one of the guns used in the shooting was legally purchased and traces back to someone believe to be connect with the shooting. The agency would not disclose the name of the purchaser.

One of the suspects involved in the San Bernardino shootings has been identified as Syed Farook, an inspector with the county health department, who abruptly left the event at the Inland Regional Center before the shootings, multiple law enforcement sources tell CNN.

The sources said the residence in Redlands, California, surrounded by law enforcement is connected to Farook. It is that house where the chase began that led to the shootout with the occupants of the SUV.

The sources could not say for certain that he was in the SUV, if he was a shooter, or that he is one of the dead. The sources did say that Syed Farook is known to be a U.S. citizen.

[Previous story as of 09:56 MT]

Two suspects died in a gun battle with police Wednesday hours after authorities say they burst into a holiday party at a center for people with developmental disabilities and killed 14 people.

But it was unclear whether the furious shootout with the male and female suspects was the end of a daylong manhunt after the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

An FBI raid was unfolding late Wednesday at an apartment in Redlands, where authorities were serving a search warrant connected to the shooting.

Mass shooting

The violence began around 11 a.m. at the convention building at the Inland Regional Center where employees with the county health department were attending a holiday event. Witnesses said at least two shooters opened fire, killing 14 people.

Another 17 people were hurt -- many wounded by bullets from automatic-style rifles, some injured in the panic to escape.

The shooters fled in a black SUV, prompting a huge police response in the area.

As the hours passed, the hunt for the suspects continued with a tip taking officers to a home about 10 miles away in Redlands.

When detectives followed up on it, a black SUV with Utah plates passed by slowly then sped up and raced off, a law enforcement official close to the investigation told CNN. A police car spotted it and took up pursuit.

Utah Highway Patrol officials speaking to FOX 13 News were not able to confirm whether a vehicle with Utah license plates was involved, but they did say they are working with law enforcement officials in California regarding information on vehicles with Utah license plates that may have been in the area of the shooting.

There was a shootout, the official said. The male suspect shot out of the vehicle while the woman drove. The SUV stopped a quarter a mile later, as an officer returned fire.

A device that looked like a bomb also flew out of the vehicle, Meredith Davis with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives told CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS. The SUV was racing back toward San Bernardino, she said.

Residents were stunned to hear the eruption of continuous gunfire. A barrage of bullets riddled the SUV's windshield.

A third person who was caught running near the scene was detained, but police aren't sure whether he was connected to either shooting.

Suspects dressed for assault

San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan didn't say how old the suspects were or physically describe them in detail. He told reporters they were armed with assault-style rifles and handguns.

A law enforcement official told CNN the rifles were AR-15s or similar style weapons.

The man and the woman were dressed in what Burquan said was "assault-style clothing," describing it as "dark, kind of tactical gear."

He wouldn't say if he knew if they were related.

Witnessed text frightened messages

Hours after the shooting, the Inland Regional Center convention center was still an active scene. The bomb squad was working to determine whether they need to blow up two suspicious devices, one of which appeared to be a pipe bomb.

Survivors of the mass shooting told of hiding in offices, bathrooms and closets, texting their loved ones that they feared they were next to be shot.

In the moments after the initial bloodbath, SWAT teams had scoured the facility, unsure whether the shooters were still there and looking for people hiding from the horror.

Marcos Aguilera received a text from his wife who works at the Inland Regional Center.

"She heard the shots and crying," he said. The situation became confusing when the fire alarm went off.

"Everyone was confused," he said, relating his wife's account.

A SWAT team eventually rescued his wife and two other co-workers. "When she exited the building, she said there were multiple bodies on the floor," Aguilera told CNN.

The center's executive director, Lavinia Johnson, told CNN that she believed the county's Department of Public Health was having a holiday party.

Johnson said the fire alarm went off in her building, and people began to evacuate but then the order came to stay in place.

Later police came and took people out of their offices, marching them into the parking lot with their hands in the air.

San Bernardino is a city of just over 200,000 people 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

CNN's Evan Perez, Barbara Starr, Pamela Brown, Deborah Feyerick, Michael Martinez, Joshua Berlinger, Ashley Fantz, Joshua Gaynor, Jason Hanna, John Newsome, Stella Chan, Nadia Kounang and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

What follows below is an archived version of a live blog, which featured updates from numerous media outlets as the situation in San Bernardino developed Wednesday. 

18 comments

  • LAYTONIAN

    How can this be possible? California has very strict gun control laws. Perhaps it would help if they made even more strict gun control laws.
    Perhaps, God forbid, this shooting is simply a sign of our country’s deteriorating moraltiy.

      • Jason Kilgore

        64% of the mass shootings in the US this year have been committed by White Americans. the rest by other Americans. I would say that letting the wrong people in sounds like we did this a long time ago when we let the Pilgrims stay on our shores.

      • LAYTONIAN

        @JASON KILGORE
        Sounds about right Jason. 63% of Americans are white. Are your trying to make a case against illegal aliens from Mexico?

    • LAYTONIAN

      Now they are reporting that there were multiple suspects. That’s really against the law. The State of California is responsible for not enforcing their laws. Why don’t they take these kinds of crimes more seriously?

  • bob

    As usual, gun control worked perfectly. Not a single law-abiding citizen had a gun. Congratulations!

    Non-MSM outlets are reporting the suspects were shouting in Arabic.

    • liberalsareflybait

      No it cant be people shouting in arabic……that would destroy the liberals ability to claim it was white christian males……

  • Sheri Christensen

    It’s bad enough that this is being shown….but someone needs to tell GRETA AND SHEP to shut up….their arguing is ridiculous….we won’t have the information any faster

    • LAYTONIAN

      Judy is your typical liberal. She doesn’t know what an assault rifle is. These outlaws weren’t using automatic rifles honey.

  • bob

    Well….they were “Middle-Eastern males of military age” who recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.

    But the car has Utah plates, so I’m sure we can blame this on Republicans and/or Mormons.

    Meanwhile, the liberals will do what they always do: Call for more law-abiding citizens to be disarmed, and bleat about not stereotyping.

    Notice how the shooters went directly to a place where they knew no one would be armed.

  • LAYTONIAN

    Bless our beloved King. Instead of criticizing Muslim Terrorists Mr. Obama is concerned about law abiding citizens and their constitutional right to own and bear firearms. Typical limp wristed liberal mentality.

  • LAYTONIAN

    So what does the fact that this rental car had Utah plates have to do with the fact the Muslim terrorists in California rented it? Was the news media trying to imply that these Muslims had Utah ties?

    • Senja

      What this means, or could mean, is if the SUV was rented in Utah, how did Farook get to to Utah to rent the car? Farouk doesn’t own a car so did he walk? or did someone, a co-conspiritor drive him.There could be other people involved that we don’t know about.

  • JeffX

    UNBELIEVABLE INEXCUSABLE THAT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA HAS NOT FOLLOWED UP ON THE RENTED SUV. THE MERE ASSERTION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT THIS SUV (with blacked-out rear windows not common for rentals because they’re after-market) IS NOT ENOUGH! WHAT AGENCY RENTED THIS CAR AND TO WHOM?

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