A 28-year-old Muslim health inspector named Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were identified as the sole actors in yesterday’s attack on a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California.
Dressed in tactical gear and toting assault rifles, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, burst into a San Bernardino social services facility and shot up a conference room where Farook’s employer, the county health department, was hosting a holiday party. The pair escaped in a black SUV after the attack, which authorities said was over within minutes, only to resurface four hours later and less than two miles away in a fierce gun battle on the city’s main drag.
“They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.
Farook, who Burguan said was born in the U.S. and had worked at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for five years, was described by co-workers as a “devout” Muslim, whoe is believed to have lived in nearby Redlands. The nationality of Malik, who reportedly recently had a baby with Farook, was not identified. Family members told The Associated Press the couple was married.
Law enforcement officials said late Wednesday they could not rule out terrorism as a possible motive. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was aiding in the investigation.
A law enforcement source told Fox News that the couple were each carrying an AR-15 rifle and and a pistol when they were shot and killed by police after a brief chase in their black SUV about 2 miles from the initial shooting site. The source said the vehicle also contained so-called “rollout bags” with multiple pipe bombs, as well as additional ammunition. The couple also had GoPro cameras strapped to their body armor and wore tactical clothing, including vests stuffed with ammunition magazines.
“That’s a military tactic for a sustained fight,” the source told Fox New of the rollout bags.
In addition to the explosives found at the SUV, authorities discovered and detonated three pipe bombs late Wednesday at the Inland Regional Center, the complex where the initial shooting took place about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
Another source described a house in Redlands that was being searched in connection with the shooting as “an IED facility.” The source said investigators discovered multiple pipe bombs in the house, as well as small explosives that were strapped to remote-controlled cars.
Other news accounts stated that Farook married Malik in Saudi Arabia within the past two years after they met online. She is a recent immigrant.
A press conference last night stated that the dead terrorists were armed with very common .223 Remington rifles (one DMPS A-15, one Smith & Wesson M&P15), a Llama pistol, and a Smith & Wesson handgun, along with multiple IEDs.
Farook apparently purchased both handguns legally from gun dealer after passing California strict gun control laws, which include waiting periods and background checks. The two rifles were also apparently legally purchased in California by another resident of the home, which belonged to Farook’s mother.
Clearly, California’s strict gun control laws did not come close to stopping the crime.
Multiple IEDs rigged to a crude homemade remote control were found within the conference room that was the scene of the primary attack, which were disarmed by ATF emergency ordnance disposal (EOD) techs.
Additonal IEDs were found within the black SUV the suspects were driving when they led police on a high-speed chase that led to a rolling shootout and then the deaths of the two suspects.
27 officers law enforcement officers were involved in the shootout at the end of the chase, and one officer was injured by expected to survive after being hit with a ricocheting bullet.
The suspects wore some sort of chest rigs (the media claims “body armor”, but I haven’t seen that confirmed by anyone I’d regard as an expert) equipped with Go-Pro-style cameras with which they apparently recorded their terrorist attack.
Authorities suggested last night that the attack was recorded by the couple in hopes of making a terrorist propaganda video.
More IEDs were found at the suspect’s home, described as an “IED factory” including those mounted to small remote-control vehicles.
Based upon the totality of the weapons, the planning, and the bomb-making materials amassed, we’d suggest the attack was planned weeks or months in advance.
It’s worth noting that Farook’s recent flight to Saudi Arabia and his return flight with Malik shows that they were not on the “terror watch list” that President Obama wants to use to summarily strip American citizens of their constitutional rights. An estimated 40% of the names on the watch list—roughly 300,000 people—have no known ties of any kind to terror groups, and it is regarded as largely useless by the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies.
Despite the obvious “elephant in the room,” authorities have refused state that the attack is Islamic terrorism.