FBI: Both San Bernardino Shooters Were Radicalized ‘for Quite Some Time’
Both the husband and wife who opened fire on a crowd of mostly San Bernardino County employees were radicalized, but it was not clear how they came to hold their beliefs, the head of the local FBI investigation said Monday.
The news came at a midday news conference that was the first since a Friday event where David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said the shooting rampage was being investigated as an “act of terrorism.”
“Did the female radicalize the male in this case? The answer is we still do not know,” Bowdich said. “As the investigation has progressed, we have learned and believe that both subjects were radicalized and have been for quite some time.”
Investigators are trying to figure out how that happened and who they were radicalized by, Bowdich said.
They had both participated in target practice in the broader Los Angeles area, Bowdich said.
“That target practice, in one occasion, was done within days of this event,” Bowdich said.
There were 19 pipes that could have been turned into pipe bombs found at their Redlands home, he said.
Tashfeen Malik, 29, and Syed Farook, 28, took the lives of 14 people and injured another 21 by opening fire on a training and holiday luncheon on Dec. 2.
Malik pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in a Facebook posting before the shooting, and Farook, 28, had had contact with overseas terrorist organizations, authorities have said.
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and San Bernardino police and the county Sheriff’s Department were set to address the shooting at a noon press conference.
The investigation found evidence of the shooters’ “radicalization” and of having been inspired by foreign terrorist organizations, FBI director James Comey had said Friday.
Tashfeen Malik, 29, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in a Facebook posting before the shooting, and her husband, Syed Farook, 28, had had contact with overseas terrorist organizations.
The couple were praised as “supporters” by Islamic State in a radio broadcast over the weekend, but the terrorist group did not claim responsibility for the attack.
The White House said there is nothing to show that the shooters were part of a terrorist network.
“So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home,” and President Barack Obama said in a rare Oval Office address to the nation Sunday evening. “But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West.
“They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people.”
The couple were not under any kind of surveillance or being tracked in any way prior to the shootings that targeted a training and holiday party for Farook’s county Department of Public Health coworkers, investigators have said.
Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with officers several hours after the initial killings at the Inland Regional Center’s conference building.
Farook was born in Chicago. Malik was born Pakistan, moved to Saudi Arabia, where the couple married in Mecca. She came to the U.S. in 2014 with Farook.
They had a 6-month-old daughter who lived with them in a Redlands townhome stocked with an arsenal that included thousands of rounds of ammunition and pipe bombs.
San Bernardino County offices reopened Monday.