Authorities said just days before he carried out an attack that killed 14 people, Syed Farook practiced with a rifle during one of several recent visits to a local shooting range and sometimes he was joined by his wife, his partner in the massacre. As more details on the married couple emerged, the FBI said Farook and Tashfeen Malik had long since embraced radical ideology.
David Bowdich, chief of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said at a news conference Monday “The question we’re trying to get at is how did that happen and by whom and where did that happen? And I will tell you right now we don’t know those answers.”
Authorities also disclosed that a year before the rampage, Syed Farook’s co-workers at the county health department underwent “active shooter” training in the same conference room where he and his wife opened fire on them last week. San Bernardino County spokeswoman Felisa Cardona said it was not immediately clear whether Farook attended the late-2014 session on what to do when a gunman invades the workplace.
According to authorities 28-year-old Farook, a restaurant inspector born in the U.S. to a Pakistani family, and 29-year-old Tashfeen Malik, an immigrant from Pakistan, went on the rampage at a holiday luncheon at about the same time Malik pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook. The Muslim couple was killed hours later in a gun battle with police.
Bowdich said authorities also discovered 19 pipes in the couple’s home in Redlands, California, that could be turned into bombs. In addition to the 14 killed, the couple injured 21 people and at least six remained hospitalized, two in critical condition.
President Barack Obama said in a prime-time address Sunday night that the killers had “gone down the dark path of radicalization,” however he said, there was no evidence they were part of a larger conspiracy or were directed by an overseas terror organization. According to authorities the two assault rifles used in the attack had been legally purchased by an old friend of Farook’s, Enrique Marquez, but they are still trying to determine how the couple got the weapons.
Marquez has not been charged with a crime. Meanwhile, most of the county’s 20,000 employees went back to work for the first time since the rampage five days earlier plunged the community into shock and mourning. Authorities tightened security at county buildings and offered counseling.
However employees in the environmental health division, where Farook and many of his victims worked and which held the active-shooter training a year ago, will be off until next week.
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