‘We have an active shooter,
we need an entry team now’

Dispatch calls from the San Bernardino shooting

The first call comes in


At 10:59 a.m., San Bernardino police dispatchers receive their first report of a “possible active shooter" at the Inland Regional Center.

"He’s still firing rounds," the dispatcher tells police.

The gunman, officers are told, is wearing black clothing and is “still firing rounds.” The gunman is also seen in the parking lot with a machine gun, dispatchers say. A helicopter overhead reports seeing employees running from the site of the shooting to a building on the north side of the campus.

Lt. Mike Madden and a second officer arrive within four minutes of the first call and are first on the scene.

"I need two more units with me for an entry team,” Madden says. "We have an active shooter, we need an entry team now.”

As police enter the building, shooters flee the scene

Moments after Madden calls for backup, a report comes in that the gunman fled in a black SUV and left carnage in his wake.

“We do not know if we still have an active shooter. We supposedly have two down inside. We’ll be making entry,” Madden says.

The destruction is obvious as soon as Madden and other officers enter the building.

“We have several down in a conference room, several down. Send medical aid!” someone yells on the radio.

“We have at least 20 victims,” another says.

A second report goes out about the fleeing gunman. But this time, officers mention a possible second shooter.

Photo: KTLA

Police evacuate the building

While officers scour the building for any potential shooters, others begin to treat the victims.

“I need some medical aid in here immediately. There’s about 15 or 20 down,” an officer says.

First responders set up a triage area off Waterman Avenue south of Park Center Drive while police sweep the campus and others look for the SUV. Employees may be still hiding in the building, police realize, so they try to coax them out by taking over the building’s intercom system.

“Sarge, you are covered when you want the announcement over the intercom – I do have access to that now. What would you like said?” an officer asks the commander.

“Whoever’s left in the building hiding have them come out to you, you can evacuate ‘em. Be cautious there’s other teams in there. And be cautious of who’s coming to you, make sure their hands are up,” he replied.

Photo: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Witnesses describe Farook for the first time

As people flood the campus parking lot and nearby golf course, officers begin to interview witnesses. One man describes a coworker leaving the holiday party early – it’s the first time Syed Rizwan Farook’s name is said over the radio.

“The subject’s name is Farbook – Farook – Frank Adam Roger Ocean Ocean King. First of Syed – Sam Yellow Edward David.”

Farook’s physical description matches that of one of the shooters, the officer says.

“He was acting nervous, left the building and 20 minutes later some of the shooting began.”

Photo: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Police find an explosive device

“We need to slow this thing down,” an officer says matter-of-factly over the radio while authorities continue to comb the campus.

As officers talk over each other with updates about where they are on the property, where they’re searching and how many victims there are, one group of police comes upon something on the second floor that could be explosives.

“I need you to advise all the units to move with caution,” the officer tells the dispatcher. “We have a suspicious device that we’ve located in the building.”

The device was three pipe bombs attached to a remote control that didn’t work. Moments later, a report of a third shooter comes over the radio.

Police would later conclude the reports of a third gunman were inaccurate.

Photo: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

Police spot suspects' SUV

A dark colored SUV carrying Farook and Malik does a “soft drive-by” of their home on Center Street and is observed by officers. For the next several minutes, officers are heard over the radio coordinating the efforts to track the couple — it includes a sheriff’s helicopter, Redlands police and stationing officers on the 10 freeway.

Photo: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

Police pursuit starts

In a bizarre coincidence, just hours after the shooting, a man in a dark colored SUV not far from the IRC building refuses to pull over for police, triggering a pursuit. No one is certain if it’s related to the attack. As that chase ends across town, reports of a second, simultaneous pursuit are heard – it’s Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

Authorities had been monitoring their home since Farook was identified as a suspect earlier that day.

“We are in pursuit of the suspect vehicle eastbound on San Bernardino Avenue from Richardson. We got shots fired out of the back window,” an officer says.

The next call over the radio depicts police firing at what would turn out to be the vehicle rented by Farook and Malik:

An officer who identifies themselves as King 40, the call sign for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, says he’s following overhead and his partner is positioning himself for a shot.

"My partner is transitioned in the backseat with an M-4 rifle...so I'm going to be flying the helicopter and working the radios all at the same time.," the officer says.

Photo: KTLA

Police pursuit ends

“Multiple shots fired!” an officer yells into the radio.

The chase ends in front of homes on San Bernardino Avenue between Richardson Street and Mountain View Avenue. The final shootout is already underway when calls for help come out over the radio.

“We need a BearCat!”

“We need medical aid!”

Gunfire is heard in the background as another officer dispatches their location for backup.

“We are at San Bernardino and Shedden. We see one guy down and there’s one guy in the back of a car. And we need that BearCat.”

“Hold your fire!” someone yells in the background.

A moment later, officers provide an update. Malik and Farook are dead.

“Right now we have one down outside the car, one down inside the car. From what we understand one is on the run.”

The person who ran from the area was not related to the attack, police later say.