The site of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, is a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities that had just held a holiday party a day before the shots rang out.
Details about the shooting were still sketchy — including how many victims and how many suspects were involved — but officials confirmed to NBC News that it took place at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.
According to their Facebook page, the IRC is a facility that serves San Bernardino County and neighboring Riverside County in Southern California. Nearly 670 staff members provide services to more than 30,200 individuals with developmental disabilities in the two counties, the Facebook page says.
The facility is run by the state, and offers specific programs designed for four different age groups: 0 to 3-years-old; 3 to 15; 16 to 22; 23 to 59; and adults over 60.
Judy Mark, secretary of the Board of Disability Rights for Northern California, told NBC News that both clients and social service workers come to the IRC, which is the largest of 21 non-profit agencies that work with the state of California catering to people who have developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy.
“You will see clients in and out for meetings,” she said. “There are support groups. Children who are between the ages of 2 and 3 years old go there to get diagnosed with a disability.”
IRC’s website was down Wednesday, presumably overcome with traffic. But according to its Facebook page, its mission is to coordinate “with generic services to normalize the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families by working to include them in the everyday routines and life rhythms of the community and by facilitating needed supports for them.”
In a cheery Facebook post on Tuesday, the IRC shared a photo of a smiling boy in front of a Christmas tree, being hugged by Santa.
“The ICF [Intermediate Care Facility] Holiday Party is in full swing and SANTA is in the house! SANTA!” the post read.
A short video showing clients — many in wheelchairs — dancing and enjoying music was also posted to a Twitter account, @InlandRegional, Tuesday, which said, “The ICF Holiday Party is in full swing!”
According to the state website, the regional centers diagnose disabilities and assess eligibility for state services at no cost to clients.
Mark described it as an “enormous complex” with a budget of “hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Some other services it offers, such as full-time out-of-home placements, come at a cost to parents for children under age 18.
Alex Vasquez, a videographer for KNBC, the Los Angeles NBC affiliate, said on air that the IRC was always busy.
“This is a center that is always full at all hours of the day, so I can just imagine there must have been a lot of people in that building. Sometimes I’ve been here where the line is even outside,” he said.
Mark said autistic clients with sensory issues, or other people there at the time of the shooting with other developmental disabilities, might not have been able to follow orders from police who responded to the shots.
“This could be a crisis upon crisis that you wouldn’t see in a typical situation,” she said.
NBC News’ Mark Schone contributed to this article, which first appeared on NBCNews.com.