US

Fatal shooting at disabled center latest tragedy to strike hard-luck city of San Bernardino

  • Police and emergency vehicles line Waterman Avenue in front of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. As many as three gunmen believed to be wearing military-style gear opened fire Wednesday at the Southern California social services center. Authorities said the shooting rampage killed multiple people and wounded others.  (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via AP)

    Police and emergency vehicles line Waterman Avenue in front of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. As many as three gunmen believed to be wearing military-style gear opened fire Wednesday at the Southern California social services center. Authorities said the shooting rampage killed multiple people and wounded others. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • A police helicopter hovers around the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.  As many as three gunmen believed to be wearing military-style gear opened fire Wednesday at the Southern California social services center. Authorities said the shooting rampage killed multiple people and wounded others.  (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via AP)

    A police helicopter hovers around the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. As many as three gunmen believed to be wearing military-style gear opened fire Wednesday at the Southern California social services center. Authorities said the shooting rampage killed multiple people and wounded others. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police and emergency vehicles line Waterman Avenue in front of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. As many as three gunmen believed to be wearing military-style gear opened fire Wednesday at the Southern California social services center. Authorities said the shooting rampage killed multiple people and wounded others.  (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via AP)

    Police and emergency vehicles line Waterman Avenue in front of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. As many as three gunmen believed to be wearing military-style gear opened fire Wednesday at the Southern California social services center. Authorities said the shooting rampage killed multiple people and wounded others. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via AP)  (The Associated Press)

For a city that's been trying to dig itself out of bankruptcy and where about a third of its residents live in poverty, the massacre in San Bernardino was a particularly painful punch to the gut.

When word raced through town Wednesday that two heavily armed people had killed 14 people and wounded 21, the heartbreak was immediate.

The targets of the husband-and-wife shooters were the man's county health agency co-workers, who were holding a holiday gathering at the Inland Regional Center.

The center was established in 1969 by concerned parents who said there was insufficient treatment available for their kids.

It employs hundreds of counselors, therapists, case managers, social works and others. Often they work one-on-one with children, frequently in their homes.

Sandra Wood, interim director of the Inland Empire Lighthouse for the Blind located just across the street from the center, said the facility serves as focal point for the community. It hosted a Christmas party just two days before the shootings and had a winter dance scheduled for Friday.