Calls to 911 began to come into the local county sheriff’s office early Sunday morning reporting Middle Eastern men firing hundreds of rounds and shouting “Allahu Akbar” close to a local state park in San Bernardino County, California. One of the callers stated that they heard guns being fired for two hours. Hikers took photos of the men and claimed that they were shot at. Local police detained the men but shortly released them that same day as they did not believe they broke any laws.
“San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said the men were released after authorities found no evidence of a specific crime or outstanding warrants. None of the persons interviewed yesterday were identified as terrorists.”—LA Times
Besides the obvious, the timing of this event makes it suspicious given the recent San Bernardino shootings and the attacks in Europe. It is not certain if the hikers were shot at, but looking at the terrain of the pictures, it appears to be in a valley or draw which could carry the sound farther.
It would be interesting to see if any of the men had a connection to the husband-and-wife team responsible for the San Bernardino attacks. Is this an Arab gun club during their range day? Probably not. However, without breaking any laws, there is little that can be done other than investigate further, which the FBI has started as of this Tuesday.
Update: I first found this story on LA Times and on Superstation95. After writing this article, some of the original sources for the LA Times and Superstation95 articles have been called out as being false. Below is the official sheriff press release and it is in line with my analysis: that these men probably were not shooting at anyone, they did not break any laws, and therefore, were not arrested. The only thing that can be done is a further investigation by authorities.
Here is a press release from the sheriff’s office:
On Sunday, March 27, 2016, at about 8:25 am, deputies from the Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to reports of shots fired in the Deep Creek Hot Springs area of Apple Valley. The reporting party told the 911 operator more than 100 shots were heard and 5 to 7 subjects wearing turbans were seen in the area shooting assault rifles, handguns, and shotguns.Due to this being a very rural location, Sheriff’s Aviation assisted to conduct an area check for the alleged shooters while patrol units from the Victor Valley Station responded. The sheriff’s helicopter arrived and located a group of males, 17 total, walking away from the creek carrying back packs and other items. Deputies from Apple Valley, Hesperia, and Victorville Police Stations also responded to assist.Shortly after deputies arrived to the area the subjects were detained and searched. Several handguns, a rifle, and a shotgun were found during a search of the backpacks and bedding the subjects had been carrying. The subjects were very cooperative and were interviewed. A local FBI agent responded to assist with interviews. A records check of the subjects, their weapons, and their vehicles was completed. The records check revealed none of the subjects had a criminal history or outstanding warrants, the weapons were registered with the Department of Justice except for the rifle, and the vehicles were also registered.Several hikers were contacted, but none of them witnessed the guns being fired. There was no evidence found that a crime had been committed by any of the subjects who were detained and they were released.
Images from Superstation95