Everything We Know So Far About The San Bernardino Shooters
Two suspects are dead, a man and a woman, and a third is detained after the killing that left 14 dead
A young married couple is believed to be behind the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the massacre at Sandy Hook. Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, are accused of opening fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino on Wednesday, leaving 14 dead and injuring 21.
Both suspects were killed in a shootout with police hours after the attack, and on Thursday, FBI officials indicated that they were considering the possibility of links to terrorism. President Obama similarly said links to terror couldn’t be ruled out. A massive stockpile of weapons, including more than a dozen bombs, was found in a residence the couple had rented, and they’d recently travelled to Pakistan, where one was a citizen.
As the investigation continues, here’s what we know about the suspected San Bernardino shooters:
A Married Couple:
Farook and Malik were married and had a six-month-old child. Farook was an American citizen and Malik was in the U.S. on a Pakistani passport. She arrived in the U.S. in July of 2014, according to Assistant Director in Charge of FBI Los Angeles David Bowdich. Farook worked in the environmental division of the San Bernardino Department of Health.
A Massive Arsenal:
Police recovered four guns from the scene of the shooting, each of which were purchased legally, according to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan. After the couple was fatally shot by law enforcement, authorities found 1,400 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition as well as 200 rounds of 9mm ammunition on their person and in their vehicle. At their home, authorities found an additional 2,500 rounds of .223 caliber ammo and another 2,000 rounds of 9mm. The couple had a total of 15 pipe bombs—a bundle of three left at the scene and another 12 that were found in their home.
The Holiday Party:
At a morning news conference on Thursday, Burguan said Farook had been at a Christmas event hosted by his employer at a conference center on the campus of the Inland Regional Center when he left abruptly. Reports that he had been in an argument with a person at the event are unconfirmed, Burguan said. After leaving, Farook returned with Malik in a dark, rented SUV. The couple was wearing black tactical gear when they entered the conference center and began shooting. After firing 65 to 75 rounds at people in the room, killing 14 and injuring 21 others, they left in the vehicle.
About two hours after the shooting, law enforcement officials, acting on a tip, were investigating a home in Redlands, not far from the crime scene, when authorities noticed a black SUV similar to the one described by witnesses as being the shooters’ getaway car and began to pursue the vehicle. Farook and Malik began firing at officers after coming to a stop about two miles from the conference center. In all, the couple fired 76 rounds at the officers, according to Burguan. Officers returned fire with more than 300 rounds shot at the couple, who were both killed in the shootout. Two officers were injured but the injuries are not life threatening.
Why They Did It:
Authorities stressed at their Thursday morning press conference that no motive for the shooting had been confirmed. There are reports, however, that Farook had become radicalized and federal authorities are investigating whether he had ties to any Islamic terrorist groups both overseas and in the U.S. Farook, authorities said, had spent time overseas before returning in July of 2014 with Malik. According to Bowdich, “If you look at the amount of preplanning… there was obviously a mission here.”
Only one of the 14 people killed has been identified. Nicholas Thalasinos worked alongside Farook in the environmental division of the San Bernardino Department of Health, according to local news outlets. Other victims will be identified over the course of the next few days, Burguan said.