After Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, a manhunt remained intact for several hours as police pursued up to three suspects. The hunt sought to recover those who killed at least 14 people at the Inland Regional Center. As the shootings and subsequent confrontation occurred, one newspaper took aim at those who offered thoughts and prayers (under the rationale that words mean little without action). To be certain, President Obama would like more action in the direction of increased gun control.
Several hours after the shootings, two suspects — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed after police stopped their black SUV on a residential street a few miles away from the center. There may or may not be another suspect at large, but CNN spent a great deal of time marveling over the exception to the lone wolf theory. Here’s what we know about the two deceased suspects:
- Who They Are: Farook and Malik reportedly entered the center and began shooting at a holiday party. They were armed with both handguns and rifles (AK-47 style) and wore face masks and dark tactical gear. They were a married couple with a baby daughter, who was with her grandmother when the shooting took place.
- How Police Found Them: Authorities acted on a lead and traced Farook’s identity to a San Bernardino residence. The two suspects fled in a black SUV and were pursued by police, who discharged a hail of gunfire into the suspects’ vehicle.
- Were Their Guns Legally Acquired? Yes. KTLA reports that the two suspects purchased their firearms legally, which was discovered after the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms traced the weapons.
- The Holiday Party: The shooting may have happened as the result of a dispute at the holiday party. This is still a theory, but police say there was an argument at the party where someone left, and that person may have returned. Further, this person may or may not have been Farook, but he did work at the complex as a health inspector. The LA Times quotes sources who say Farook was quiet at the party and left before it was over.
- Farook’s Citizenship And Other History: Farook was a United States Citizen and attended California State University. He worked at the center for five years prior to the shooting. Farook kept an online dating profile intact, despite his marriage to Malik, who Farook met earlier this year on a trip to Saudi Arabia. One of Farook’s co-workers said he lived the American dream, or so people believed. (You can see a photo of Farook here.)
- The Family Ties: Farook’s father described his son as a devout Muslim. He also identified his son as “very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.” His brother-in-law told NBC News, “I just cannot express how sad I am for what happened today. I am in shock that something like this could happen.”
- A Possible Motive: A motive for the shootings has not been revealed, but police are investigating “a number of potential things” including the possibility of terrorism. However, authorities are “not willing to say that we know for sure.”
- The Alleged Third Party: Police are still open to the possibility of a third suspect, and at one point, Farook’s brother may have entered suspect status. Then authorities became mostly convinced that Farook and Malik were the only shooters on the scene.
UPDATE: 1:15pm – San Bernardino officials released a number of details in a press conference about the married suspects. After a thorough search, they determined that Farook and Malik’s home “had extensive amounts of ammunition” (including 12 pipe bombs and several thousands rounds of ammunition). Police Chief Jarrod Burguan stressed that “we still don’t have a motive,” but “they were equipped … and they could have done another attack.”
Officials also revealed that Farook was “apparently radicalized” and “in touch with international terrorism subjects.” As this time, authorities have stopped short of assigning terrorism as a motive for Wednesday’s mass shooting.