Some San Bernardino massacre victims struggling to recover 1 year later

As San Bernardino, Calif., marked one year after the massacre that killed 14 people there, some of the 22 wounded said they still faced a long road to recovery, and needed more aid from health officials.


Amanda Gaspard told ABC News she still had two bullets in her leg. She claimed she still suffered from post-traumatic stress, and walked with a cane -- and that the San Bernardino County claims administrator rejected payment for surgery and other treatment.

“My medications got denied -- like just cut off in October,” survivor Sally Cardinale added. “None of those three medicines are supposed to be cut off without any weaning or anything like that, and they just cut them off.”


“Our county has not denied care to anyone,” county spokesman David Wert told ABC News. “Denials are rare. When they occur, the county shares in the employees’ frustration.”

“I can’t type, I can’t put a bra on, I can’t cut a steak, I can’t drive, I can’t do laundry, I can’t wrap a present, I can’t put my shoes and socks on, I can’t do much walking or standing or sitting,” survivor Valerie Kallis-Weber told The New York Times. “I need help with everything.”

The hardscrabble city of 216,000 people east of Los Angeles marked one year after the Dec. 2 attack by a husband and wife on a holiday luncheon for county health employees. Investigators say the attackers were inspired by the Islamic State terror group.

Most of those killed in the attack by county health inspector Syed Rizwan Farook, and Farook's Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, were Farook's colleagues.

While the city of San Bernardino has been grappling with a spike in homicides this year, community residents have worked hard to prevent a hate-filled backlash to the terror attack. Clergy have formed an interfaith alliance, victims' families have encouraged tolerance and Muslims residents undertook a campaign to educate neighbors about Islam.

Since the attack, San Bernardino police Sgt. Emil Kokesh said he has also been reminded of the need to stay fit. Kokesh arrived at the scene of the onslaught minutes after the shooting and was there for more than a day. He said he was sore for two weeks, which prompted him to take up cycling to get in shape with some fellow officers.

"On that day, it pushed a lot of us to our limits -- physically, mentally, and emotionally," he said. Now, Kokesh said he often reminds his fellow officers: "you may work in an office, you may do investigations, and not do much field work anymore, but you are going to be the ones who respond to something like this, so stay fit, stay prepared."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.