Los Angeles, As their colleagues were cut down by gunfire, three men rushed a shooter in an attempt to thwart the San Bernardino terror attack, according to in-depth report of the massacre that provided new details.
The three county employees were shot in the ensuing barrage by a colleague and his wife. The report did not say if any survived, though a federal prosecutor hailed their sacrifice.
"These victims had no chance to protect themselves as a result of the callous perpetration of violence, while others heroically sacrificed themselves in an attempt to stop the shooting," US Attorney Eileen Decker said in a statement.
"In the face of this unfathomable suffering, the law enforcement personnel and citizens who put themselves in harm's way to help others exemplifies the very best that our country has to offer."
The report by the Police Foundation, a policy study group, and the Department of Justice provided a detailed account of the pandemonium that unfolded as the Islamic extremists opened fire at a December 2 meeting of the man's colleagues and, minutes later, as police first arrived at the scene of horrific bloodshed.
Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in the massacre at a training
event and holiday gathering of the San Bernardino County Health Department, where Farook worked as a food inspector.
Farook had been present at the meeting but got up and left before returning a short time later clad in black, wearing a mask and armed with a semi-automatic rifle. His wife was also wearing black and toting an assault rifle.
The first victims had been shot outside the Inland Regional Center. One appeared to have been eating lunch at a
picnic table and the other was found still holding his cellphone, according to the report based on interviews with
over 200 witnesses, law enforcement officers and others.
Colleagues inside had heard popping sounds, but many didn't recognize the sound of gunfire until the doors burst
open and they saw a man in black start spraying bullets.
People ran in horror, some dove to the floor and others fell from the fusillade.
Even then, some weren't sure what was happening, with one county official taking cover and thinking it was the "most
glorified training I had ever seen."
"Probably on the second or third clip, it finally clicked that this wasn't an exercise," the official said. The report
does not name witnesses, victims or first responders.
The couple calmly reloaded several times over the course of two to three minutes before they left, and appeared to look
for signs victims might still be alive, shooting one or more bullets into those who made a sound or moved.(AP)