LOS ANGELES – Autopsies released Friday of the 14 victims of the San Bernardino terror attack confirm that all died quickly after being shot at least twice but also reveal chilling details of the carnage.
San Bernardino County released the heavily redacted autopsies as part of a public records request by The Associated Press.
Victims of the Dec. 2 attack were San Bernardino County public health workers attending an annual training inside a vast conference room that had been decked out for Christmas. Dressed in black and wearing ski masks, one of their co-workers, Syed Farook, and his wife opened fire on the group before the pair was killed in a same-day shootout with police.
The autopsies of the husband-and-wife killers were not released Friday. County spokesman David Wert said their death investigations had not been finished and had no estimate of when they would be ready.
The victim autopsies detail the chaos inside the 85-by-40-foot conference room where most took their last breaths.
The body of 46-year-old Harry Bowman was nearest the northernmost door of the conference room. Bowman, a father of two daughters who had only recently been hired by the county, was shot five times.
Eight other bodies were in the conference room, as far as more than 50 feet from where Bowman lay.
Three victims, all men, were found clustered near a Christmas tree.
"The room was in disarray," according to the autopsy reports. "The chairs, food, property and decorations were strewn about the room. There were several dozen cartridge casings around the room. There were multiple bullet holes in the ceiling, walls, furniture and floor."
Some of the ceiling tiles had come crashing down, the autopsies said.
Three victims died just outside the building where the conference room was, and two others were pronounced dead at a triage station close by.
The two chosen for triage, 45-year-old Shannon Johnson and 46-year-old Bennetta Bet-Badal, were deemed likeliest to survive but it's unclear how long they lived before being pronounced dead.
Johnson's autopsy shows he died of a gunshot wound to the right thigh, though he also was hit in the back, elbow and buttocks. One of his co-workers has credited Johnson with saving her life, saying that when the bullets began flying, he held her close and told her, "I got you."
Bet-Badal, a native of Iran who came to the U.S. when she was 18 to escape Christian persecution, died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to her autopsy. She had also been hit in the legs and chest.
The San Bernardino attack was the deadliest terror strike on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. The FBI said Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were radicalized before they met online and communicated privately about jihad and martyrdom before they married.
Twenty-two people survived the shooting.