Obama meets families of terror victims

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the recent shootings in San Bernardino, after meeting with victims' families on Dec 18, 2015.
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the recent shootings in San Bernardino, after meeting with victims' families on Dec 18, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • President Barack Obama met families of the victims of the Dec 2 San Bernardino shooting, saying they represent the strength, unity and love that exist in the United States.

Mr Obama, who was accompanied by his wife Michelle, also praised the relatives for their efforts to promote tolerance in the wake of the attack.

The mass shooting left 14 people dead and 22 hurt in what is being investigated as a terror attack.

Mr Obama stopped in California last Friday en route to Hawaii for a family Christmas vacation, meeting those who lost loved ones, and the first responders who rushed to the scene of the rampage.

"As difficult as this time is for them and for this entire community, they're also representative of the strength and the unity and the love that exists in this community and in this country," he said.

Speaking at Indian Springs High School, Mr Obama said that despite what they were going through, the families "could not have been more inspiring, and more proud of their loved ones, and more insistent that something good comes out of this tragedy".

"And many of them are already taking initiatives to reach out, to speak out on behalf of community and tolerance and treating people with respect," he added.

The carnage at a social services centre was carried out by US-born Syed Farook and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik.

Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County last Friday. The bureaucratic move lets the state allocate funds to the county health department "until the county is able to resume normal staffing levels", and suspends fees on things like "copies of certificates of death records by any person who suffered a loss of a family member due to the terrorist attack".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2015, with the headline 'Obama meets families of terror victims'. Print Edition | Subscribe