Workers who survived the San Bernardino massacre returned to their desks on Monday.
Social worker Melinda Rivas, 51, videotaped her emotional return. The footage showed how everything was eerily as she left it on December 2.
“My hope is that I will feel secure, it will take time," she said. "I'm excited to see my coworkers and get passed this enough time has gone by to get back to work."
The mood was solemn outside the Inland Regional Center. Hundreds of employees returned to work for the first time since the attack, which left 14 dead.
Buildings one and two are open, but the building where the shooting occurred is closed indefinitely. A prayer booth and counsellors are standing by the help the workers cope but some still found it too difficult to return to work.
Melinda was among the employees who were led out of the complex with her hands up when it was feared there were still gunmen on the loose.
A lone cop reassured them all with a startling promise: “I'll take a bullet before you do. That's for damn sure. Just try to stay cool, okay?”
Melinda said she had mixed feelings about walking down the same corridor today.
“We will never forget what happened but we do have to learn the coping skills to move forward,” she said. “We have all become a very tight-knit family behind this tragedy.”