Crime & Justice

San Bernardino shooting update: Islamic State group praises shootings, Obama speaks out

Redlands Police remain at the 50 block of N Center Street in Redlands on Thursday morning, Dec. 3, 2015. The location is being searched in connection to Wednesday's mass shooting. Twelve pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found at the location.
Redlands Police remain at the 50 block of N Center Street in Redlands on Thursday morning, Dec. 3, 2015. The location is being searched in connection to Wednesday's mass shooting. Twelve pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found at the location.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Islamic State group has now aired a statement saying the mass shooting in San Bernardino was carried out by supporters of the extremist group, but did not claim Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik as members. Meanwhile, President Obama spoke out again on the event and urged more gun control legislation. 

Timeline | What we know about the: assailants | victims

Updates

 

5:16 p.m. Obama to speak from Oval Office about attacks

The White House says President Barack Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday about the steps the government is taking to keep people safe after the attack this past week in California.

Obama will provide an update on the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 and wounded 21 and will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism. He will talk about the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how he plans to defeat it.

He will talk about his determination that the Islamic State group must be destroyed. And he will make the case that the United States must draw the nation's values - its commitment to justice, equality and freedom - to prevail over terrorist groups.

Authorities raid home in Riverside

Neighbors say authorities have raided a home next door to the house where the family of shooter Syed Farook used to live in Riverside, California.

Maria Gutierrez says she was told to leave her house further down the street at 1:30 a.m. Saturday for safety reasons as authorities swept in with guns drawn.

She says authorities used a megaphone to tell whoever was in the house to come out.

Another neighbor, Lorena Aguirre, says law enforcement broke windows and used a torch to get in the garage.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says agents served a federal search warrant at the house overnight. She declined to discuss what they were looking for.

Authorities say Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in a rampage in San Bernardino, California.

--AP

12:35 p.m.  Man who attends shooter’s mosque describes him as humble, quiet

San Bernardino was relatively quiet Friday night when a KPCC reporter was in the area.

Locals outside restaurants said they were just trying to get on with life as normal and have a Friday night dinner out.

Rahemaan Ali, 18, who said he prays at Dar Al Uloom mosque in San Bernardino, where shooter Sayed Rizwan Farook had also prayed, spoke with KPCC.

Ali said Farook started going to Dar Al Uloom about two years ago and prayed there on his lunch break. Ali described Farook as a humble, quiet man who never showed any radical or violent views.

When members of the mosque had talked openly and condemned the Paris attacks and others for which the Islamic State group took responsibility, Farook never said anything to the opposite, Ali said.

​-- KPCC's Deepa Fernandes

10:28 a.m. Obama: 'We will not be terrorized'

The mass shooting in San Bernardino, which killed 14 people who had been attending a holiday party at a social services center, prompted President Obama to call for tighter gun control laws – and to pledge that investigators will "get to the bottom" of the case.

In his weekly radio address released Saturday, Obama said: "We are Americans. We will uphold our values — a free and open society. We are strong. And we are resilient. And we will not be terrorized."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHyB8fLiEMs

The president's speech aired the day after a federal source told NPR that Malik had pledged her support to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by using a Facebook account that was created under an alias. 

That federal source also cautioned that investigators had no reason to believe ISIS had played a role in plotting the attack. Instead, the FBI is exploring the idea that the couple may have become "self-radicalized" somehow, taking their inspiration from ISIS.

According to jihadist monitor SITE Intelligence, ISIS made two statements about the California attacks Saturday — in Arabic and English — calling Malik and Farook supporters and martyrs.

In the U.S., the shocking attack has also prompted new calls for gun control, with President Obama saying Saturday:

"For example, right now, people on the No-Fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane. If you're too dangerous to board a plane, you're too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. And so I'm calling on Congress to close this loophole, now."

A call for changing America's gun laws also sparked what is reportedly the first front-page editorial by The New York Times since 1920, with the paper's editorial board demanding an end to "the gun epidemic in America."

From that editorial:

"It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection."

Military-style weaponry has also been part of the discussion about what tools civilian police forces should have in the U.S., where recent cases of police shootings have led to a push for police to think of themselves not as warriors but as guardians of the public's safety.

NPR's Martin Kaste explored those questions in the light of the San Bernardino attack, for a report on Friday night's All Things Considered.

Noting that military-style equipment drew negative attention during last year's protests in Ferguson, Mo., Martin spoke to San Bernardino SWAT team commander Lt. Travis Walker, who told him that the attack shows why police have such gear.

"Society has changed, weaponry has changed that individuals have access to," Walker said. "And it's not that we seek to militarize law enforcement. The goal is to try to make sure that we reduce the number of human casualties."

Another view came from Sue Rahr, who runs Washington state's police academy — and who urges police officers to see themselves as guardians, rather than warriors.

"Frankly, the most important thing we can do is figure out ways to prevent or predict when these are going to happen so we can stop them before they happen," Rahr said, "because there's no way — with the best training and equipment in the world, we [only] have about two or three minutes before the worst of it is usually over."

-- NPR's Bill Chappell 

9:34 a.m.: Islamic State group praises shootings

The Islamic State group's official radio station has aired a statement saying the mass shooting in California was carried out by two "supporters" of the extremist group.

While praising the attack, the group stopped short of claiming responsibility for it. The Al-Bayan report Saturday echoed a claim carried Friday by the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency.

The radio report did not refer to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik as actual members of the Islamic State group. Militants affiliated with IS who carry out attacks are commonly referred to in the group's propaganda as "lions," ''fighters" or "mujahedeen."

— From Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo.