County Employees In San Bernardino, Calif., Return To Work After Mass Shooting

Dec 7, 2015
Originally published on December 8, 2015 2:28 pm
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Some county employees in San Bernardino, Calif., went back to work today for the first time since last week's attack. Those workers and the greater community are facing their fears. Local leaders are trying to encourage a sense of recovery. NPR's Richard Gonzales is in San Bernardino and found many people still in shock.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: At the corner of a busy intersection near the sight of the massacre, a makeshift memorial site for the victims still draws scores of visitors bearing flowers, candles, tears and offers of prayer.

FRANCES GUADARRAMA: It could've been any workplace, and I was just saying that it could even happen to one of our family members.

R. GONZALES: Frances Guadarrama, a grandmother, is a member of The Way World Outreach. Her evangelical church is offering coffee, doughnuts and long hugs to anyone who asks for one. She wears a black T-shirt that says on the front, I care; need a prayer - on the back, San Bernardino strong. Guadarrama says she's still shaken by what happened last week.

GUADARRAMA: We don't know where they're going to hit or - that's what I'm saying, that your next second is not guaranteed to you.

MARTY HOOPER: You know, we're here to just - to come alongside people. I know there's a lot of hurting people here right now.

R. GONZALES: That's Marty Hooper, a pastor with another evangelical church called Harvest Riverside. He says the memorial is a place where strangers are coming together to find comfort.

HOOPER: They want to show some type of compassion or help the best of the way they can, you know? And things like this kind of cause us to just - to slow down in our tracks and just really evaluate life and those types of things.

R. GONZALES: That sense of reflection was echoed inside the halls of the San Bernardino County building where thousands of employees return to work this morning. Workers at the Environmental Health Services Division, based at the County build where the shooting happened, are still off until next week. At a news conference, county supervisor Josie Gonzales issued a defiant call.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOSIE GONZALES: No act of terrorism anywhere will invest fear, will provide any kind of an end to the hard work, to the dedication of every single San Bernardino County employee.

R. GONZALES: And the director of public health, Trudy Raymundo, said she was grateful for the outpouring of support arriving to this beleaguered California community from around the country and the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUDY RAYMUNDO: We will get through this day by day, minute by minute if we need to. But we will heal. We will rebuild, and we will be stronger when we get to that other side.

R. GONZALES: A candlelight vigil for the victims and the survivors of last week's shooting will be held tonight. Richard Gonzales, NPR News, San Bernardino. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.