The FBI is now investigating the attack that took place in San Bernardino Wednesday as an act of terrorism, the agency's Los Angeles field office said during a Friday morning news conference, allegedly conducted by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Officials said they are looking into reports Malik had pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook and that they know who purchased the rifles used in the shooting and where they are, but that they had not yet placed anyone under arrest.
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- 3:12 p.m. Family attorneys say Farook was teased, isolated
- 1:58 p.m. FBI inventory shows that authorities seized rifle, ammo, weapons accessories and other items from shooters' home
- 1:06 p.m. Shooters don't appear to have been part of a larger terrorist group
- 12:02 p.m. FBI investigating 'act of terrorism'
- 10:36 a.m. Thousands gather to pay tribute to dead, family of shooter 'shocked'
In a Friday afternoon press conference, Farook family attorneys David Chesley and Mohammad Abuershaid cautioned against a rush to judgment when it comes to possible terrorist connections Farook and Malik may have had. They said that most of the evidence focuses on Facebook posts made under an alias by Malik.
Chesley said that co-workers had made fun of Farook for his beard and noted that Farook was isolated, with few friends.
Farook's mother lived with him and Malik, but she stayed upstairs and didn't notice they'd stockpiled 12 pipe bombs and over 4,500 rounds of ammunition, according to family attorneys.
While the FBI was questioning the Farook family, no one mentioned any links or behavior that were "forceful," according to Chesley. The attorneys said the family was shocked and that they had seen no signs the couple would be aggressive or had extreme views.
The family's baby daughter was left with the mother before the shootings and is currently being held by Child Protective Services, according to family attorneys. Farook's brother-in-law is beginning the legal process to adopt the girl, the lawyers said. The lawyers said they were trying to get the baby back, but that they may not be able to until next week.
The attorneys said that they were scheduled to speak with the FBI on Monday and Tuesday.
— KPCC staff
The FBI inventory of items seized from the Redlands home where the San Bernardino shooters lived included a .22 caliber rifle, dozens of boxes of ammo, weapons accessories, gun seller invoices from two separate sellers, a laptop, several data storage devices and an iPhone, the Los Angeles Times reported. Other seized items included Christmas lights, a bank receipt, audio cassettes and a notebook written in a foreign language.
The agents took other items from a nearby black Lexus, according to the Times, including shooting targets, a U-Haul receipt, packaging from a GoPro camera, legal documents and other items.
— KPCC staff
There is no indication so far that the shooters were part of a larger terrorist group or network, FBI Director James Comey said at a press conference, according to NPR.
Comey said there were "indications of radicalization" of the attackers and "potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations." He also added that no prior contact between either shooter and subjects that the FBI was investigating that had brought them to the FBI's attention.
An ISIS-affiliated news agency called Aamaq says the two shooters were "supporters" of the Islamic State group, but it stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack, according to the Associated Press.
Assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles office David Bowdich said he wasn't aware of the report but wasn't surprised ISIS would attempt to link itself to the attack. He said during a Friday morning news conference that investigators are considering a number of leads.
— KPCC staff
Update 12:02 p.m. FBI investigating 'act of terrorism'
The deaths of 14 people during a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Wednesday are now being investigated as an act of terrorism, Dave Bowdich from the FBI's Los Angeles field office said during a Friday morning news conference.
"We are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism," Bowdich said, adding that there were "are number of pieces of evidence" that prompted law enforcement to begin looking into the shooting as an active terrorism investigation.
Bowdich said that the FBI is investigating reports that the female shooter, Tashfeen Malik, pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook.
He added the FBI is continuing to look for what the motivation behind the attack.
Authorities have already uncovered evidence of extensive planning, including a cache of ammunition and weapons, Bowdich said.
"We have also uncovered evidence that these two attempted to destroy their digital fingerprints," he said, adding that cellphones were found by investigators smashed in a nearby trash can.
"We continue to exploit the data from those cellphones," Bowdich said.
Some digital media was damaged, Bowdich said.
No other suspects are currently under arrest, but some may be in the future, Bowdich said. He said law enforcement knows who purchased the rifles used in the shooting and that they know that person's location, but that they had not yet placed anyone under arrest.
Authorities are looking for if other people are involved, either inside or outside the United States, Bowdich said.
It's possible that a second attack was being planned, Bowdich said. He also said, "We are not aware of any further threats in the U.S. at this time." He said authorities don't know yet if the shooters were directed to do their attack.
Members of the media were allowed into the alleged shooters' home Friday morning. Bowdich said that people going into the home have nothing to do with the FBI at this point because they are no longer in control of the crime scene. Bowdich said that a list of items seized by authorities was left showing what was taken due to it being required by law.
Bowdich confirmed that Syed Rizwan Farook traveled overseas in 2013. Bowdich said that Malik was not previously under investigation.
Bowdich suggested citizens not to panic, but to remain vigilant and let law enforcement know if they see anything of concern. He asked anyone with information on Wednesday's shooting to call 1-800-225-5324.
"Continue to do what you do," Bowdich said. "Do not let this cause mass hysteria."
— KPCC staff
10:36 a.m.: Thousands gather to pay tribute to dead, family of shooter 'shocked'
Thousands of people turned out in San Bernardino Thursday night for a candlelight vigil to honor the 14 victims killed in the mass shooting. Their names were released earlier in the day.
At San Manuel Stadium, clergy and government officials took to the podium to encourage residents to stay strong amid the city’s struggles.
“Though we are a bankrupt city, and now a terrorized city, we will not be beaten,” city attorney Gary Saenz said.
Meanwhile, one of the largest mosques in Southern California held a prayer vigil for about 200 of its members and community.
Ahsan Khan, one of leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said in a statement, "our Community has been in San Bernardino County for nearly three decades, and yet have never seen such depravity. Our hearts go out to the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with them as their neighbors and brothers and sisters in peace."
Condolences also poured out on social media as the identities of the victims were released. Among the 14 people the San Bernardino County corner confirmed were killed:
- 46-year-old Bennetta Bet-Badal, who fled Iran at age 18 following the Iranian revolution, who left behind a husband and three children.
- Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, a Messianic Jew and county environmental specialist who was described by his wife as having a “very strong faith.”
- 45-year-old Shannon Johnson, a resident of L.A.'s Koreatown, who friends described as “smart and funny.” His girlfriend is a longtime member of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's Crisis Response Team.
You can read more about the victims here.
The family of shooter Syed Rizwan Farook commented through a lawyer Thursday night, telling KPCC that the family is shocked that he could have been involved in the attack.
Associate attorney Mohammad Abuershaid said 28-year-old Farook that family members did not suspect that he might have become radicalized.
“He was working for the city, he had a full-time job. He was getting his masters. He was married," said Abuershaid. "He was living the American dream.”
Less is known about Malik. Abuershaid said even the family had only basic biographical details on her other than the fact that she was born in Pakistan but moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia around the age of 18 or 20.
There, she met Syed Farook over a match-making website for people looking to marry. After that, they met once, married in Saudi Arabia and then started a life in California.
Neighbors of a home in suburban Riverside told KPCC Farook had mostly kept to himself.
"He worked on cars," one neighbor told KPCC. "He could work on them for weeks. Just go to sleep, get up, work on something, continue. But I never imagined him to do something like this."