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Names of 14 killed in mass shooting released

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 19:21:03-05

BREAKING: Authorities have released the names of all 14 people killed in Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino.

The victims are:

Shannon Johnson, 45, Los Angeles
Bennetta Bet-Badal, 46, Rialto
Aurora Godoy, 26, San Jacinto
Isaac Amanios, 60, Fontana
Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42, Rialto
Harry Bowman, 46, Upland
Yvette Velasco, 27, Fontana
Sierra Clayborn, 27, Moreno Valley
Robert Adams, 40, Yucaipa
Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, Colton
Tin Nguyen, 31, Santa Ana
Juan Espinoza, 50, Highland
Damian Meins, 58, Riverside
Michael Wetzel, 37, Lake Arrowhead

"This shooting has caused each victims [sic] family, friends and co-workers, along with the first responders, to suffer an enormous personal tragedy. We must stand strong and offer support to each individual affected by this senseless attack," San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- The identities of the 14 people killed when two attackers opened fire in a San Bernardino social services center are beginning to emerge.

A man, who worked for the county as a restaurant inspector, and his wife -- both wearing black tactical gear and wielding assault rifles -- opened fire at the center, authorities said.

Along with the 14 people killed, another 21 were injured.


Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, identified as a Messianic Jew and passionately defended Israel, actively debating about religion in online forums and in person, his friends said. Only two weeks ago, Thalasinos was having a heated on-the-job discussion about the nature of Islam with Syed Rizwan Farook, his fellow restaurant inspector and the man police identified as the shooter.

Thalasinos' friend, Kuuleme Stephens, said she happened to call him while he was working with Farook, and that he brought her into their debate, loudly declaring that Farook "doesn't agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion." Farook countered that Americans don't understand Islam, and Thalasinos responded by saying "I don't know how to talk with him," she said.

Stephens said she didn't sense any pending violence at the time, and it is not clear if their debates factored in the attack. Stephens said Thalasinos did not believe his co-worker would ever turn violent. However, his wife Jennifer said "she believes her husband was martyred for his faith and beliefs," Stephens said.

Nicholas and Jennifer Thalasinos had recently renewed their marriage vows, and they appeared together frequently on his Facebook page.

"He was a wonderful person," said Joey Shimoni, another friend. "A great husband and just a sweet soul."


Michael Raymond Wetzel's slaying leaves his wife and six children without a husband and father. Friends and fellow church members appealed for help supporting his widow Renee, a stay-at-home mom in Lake Arrowhead, California.

"Michael was the most amazing person," Renee Wetzel said in a statement, issued through her friend Celia Behar. The couple had five children from previous marriages and one child together.

"He was my best friend and an incredible father who was loved by all. I have never known a better person. He loved his work and his family so very much. Without him, this family will never be the same. We appreciate all the love and support that everyone is showing."

Behar runs a blog for mothers where Renee Wetzel frequently posted, and she turned there to ask for prayers shortly after learning that her husband, an environmental health supervisor, could have been attacked. "My husband was in a meeting and a shooter came in. There are multiple people dead/shot. I can't get a hold of him," she wrote.

After last month's deadly shootings in Paris, she posted a vacation photo on Facebook, overlain by the colors of the French flag.

After her husband's death was confirmed, she posted a Bible passage: "When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

The Lil' Mamas blog set up an online fundraiser for the Wetzel family on Thursday morning and quickly raised donations of more than $60,000.

Church of the Woods also asked its members to pray for the extended family: "Please continue to pray for Renee, his children, and his former wife Amy as they process this terrible tragedy and loss of their husband and father," the church said in a statement.


Damian Meins, 58, was passionate about serving his community, a message he took from the priests at his Catholic high school in Riverside and carried throughout his life.

Meins never strayed far from his church or its teachings, said Walter Hackett, who met Meins some 40-years ago in high school. "Service to others, helping others. He very much took that to heart," said Hackett.

"Damian was a good, good guy. Funny and smart and tall. A real quick smile, very friendly and outgoing," Hackett said. "It's a real hard hit for all of us who knew him."

Meins married his high school sweetheart, now a Catholic school principal, and they raised two daughters, one a teacher. Meins was fondly remembered as the guy who dressed up as Santa for school pictures, according to a parent's social media posting Thursday.

Meins' Facebook page, where he can be seen smiling with his family in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, says he studied business administration at the University of Redlands starting in 1991. In 1979, he graduated from UC Riverside. He was also retired from the County of Riverside after working there for 28 years.

In addition to working at the in the public health department in San Bernardino, Meins was an Extended Care Coordinator at St. Catherine of Alexandria School in Riverside, where he also helped kids create Christmas art projects and religious murals, Hackett said.

Meins received a Community Recognition Award for his work in Riverside, which was based on "compassion, courage, forgiveness, generosity, humility, inclusiveness, integrity, kindness, respect and service."

According to the Press-Enterprise, he was the first victim identified. A living Rosary for the Meins family was held Thursday.


San Diego State alumni and current New York Giants safety Nat Berhe announced Thursday his cousin was one of the victims killed in the mass shooting.

Around 10 a.m., Berhe announced via Twitter he received word one of his cousins had died.

Berhe -- who grew up in San Bernardino -- also posted a map to his Twitter account Wednesday as the attack was unfolding showing the close proximity of his parents' office building to the IRC.

"The true terror is that this keeps happening," he wrote. "I still can't believe it. Take a moment to think of the families hurting right now."

Berhe did not identify his cousin by name.


Authorities say the husband-and-wife attackers fired 75 rifle rounds in the assault, left behind three rigged-together pipe bombs with a remote-control device that apparently malfunctioned, and had over 1,600 more bullets with them when they were gunned down in their SUV.

Hours after the attack, the couple was shot to death in their rented vehicle in a furious gun battle with police. During the shootout, the couple fired 76 rounds, while law officers unleashed about 380, police said.