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'Bullets Were Flying Everywhere': Witnesses tell PEOPLE of Police Chase and Shootout with San Bernardino Suspects

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Los Angeles Times/Polaris

Dwight Thomas and Jose Rocha were driving home from work in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday when they saw a dark SUV pass them.

“The SUV was driving really slow, like it was out for a casual drive,” Thomas tells PEOPLE. “I saw the driver, a white guy with his hair slicked back looking like he didn’t have a care in the world.”

Thomas didn’t think twice about it – until “all of a sudden, out of nowhere, about 100 police cars came out of nowhere behind us.”

Though Thomas didn’t know it then, the SUV was the one being hunted by police following the day’s earlier mass shooting at Inland Regional Center.

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After apparently spotting authorities pursuing them, the individuals in the vehicle began “throwing metal objects out of the car,” Thomas says. The objects are thought to be pipe bombs, according to authorities.

“They started chasing them down a side street and the driver stopped his car,” Thomas adds. “A minute later, he jumped out of the car and fired on police, and they dropped him.”

Thomas says he saw two other men get out of the car and “take off running in opposite directions.”

“They scattered and were shooting as they ran,” Thomas says. “Bullets were flying everywhere. We thought our car was going to get hit. Hundreds of shots. Pop, pop, pop, pop.”

“They hopped out and started blasting,” adds Rocha. “I turn down a side street when we heard the shooting.

“They were screaming, ‘Active shooter, active shooter,’ ” Rocha says. “They didn’t have their bulletproof vests [on], that’s how fast they were moving.”

He adds: “They were yelling at everybody to get back in their house . It was a full on shootout.”

San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan confirmed multiple “suspects are down” on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. One officer was injured in the exchange of gunfire, but is expected to recover.

At least 14 people were killed and 17 wounded when at least three gunmen opened fire at Inland Regional Center on Wednesday.