Terror attack? US police probes muslim couple in shooting rampage

Terror attack? US police probes muslim couple in shooting rampage

Thursday, December 3, 2015 12:20 pm

Syed Rizwan Farook: the face of the shooter

Syed Rizwan Farook: the face of one of the shooters

A man and woman armed with assault-style rifles opened fire on the holiday party of his co-workers in Southern California, killing 14 people and wounding 17 others, and then were slain hours later in a shootout with police, authorities said.

The two suspects were identified as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, who San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said were in a relationship, possibly married or engaged. He said they were believed to be the only shooters involved in an attack that required some degree of planning.

While the motive remained unclear, Burguan said, “We have not ruled out terrorism.” Farook was U.S. born, while Malik’s nationality was still undetermined.

According to the police chief, Farook was a county public health employee who attended the party, held in a conference building on the campus of the Inland Regional Center – a social services agency – and at some point stormed out, then returned with Malik to open fire on the celebration. The couple were dressed in assault-style clothing and also placed several bombs at various locations, which police detonated.

Syed Rizwan Farook

Syed Rizwan Farook

The shooting rampage marked the deadliest U.S. gun violence since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, in which 27 people, including the gunman, were killed.

Wednesday’s carnage amplified concerns about gun violence and security in the wake of a deadly rampage on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last week and the attacks in Paris three weeks ago by Islamic State militants that killed 130 people.

Rescue workers at the scene of shooting

Rescue workers at the scene of shooting

So far in 2015, there have been more than 350 shootings in which four or more people were wounded or killed, according to the crowd-sourced website shootingtracker.com, which keeps a running tally of U.S. gun violence.

The attack in San Bernardino, a largely working-class city 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles, appeared to differ from other recent U.S. killing sprees in several ways, including the involvement of two people rather than a lone perpetrator.

A third person seen fleeing from the area of the shootout with the suspects was detained, but Burguan said he was not sure if that person was involved in the attack.

David Bowdich, an assistant regional FBI director, said earlier in the day that authorities had not yet ruled out whether the shooting was an act of terrorism.

“It is a possibility, but we don’t know that,” he told reporters. “It’s possible it goes down that road. It’s possible it does not.” (Read FBI analysis here: The F.B.I. is treating the shooting as a potential terrorist act


At a news conference called by the Los Angeles area chapter of the Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the brother-in-law of Farook, Farhan Khan, said he was bewildered by the news.

“Why would he do that? Why would he do something like this? I have absolutely no idea. I am in shock myself,” Khan said at the news conference in Anaheim, California, south of Los Angeles.

Survivors of San Bernardino

Survivors of San Bernardino

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR in the Los Angeles area, said the couple had been missing since Wednesday morning and had a 6-month-old baby.

Ayloush appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions about the suspects’ motives.

“Is it work? Is it rage-related? Is it mental illness? Is it extreme ideology?” he said. “We just don’t know.”

The manhunt initially led police to a home in the neighbouring town of Redlands, and that police pursued a suspected getaway vehicle that was seen leaving that address back to San Bernardino, where the shootout ensued.

Ayloush told Reuters the couple left their 6 month-old-baby with Farook’s mother at that Redlands home early on Wednesday morning and told her they were going to attend a doctor’s appointment for Malik, who he called Farook’s wife of two years.

Twelve hours after the attack, the identities of the dead had still not been made public due to a delay in investigators examining the crime scene because of the explosives left there, Burguan said.

The Redlands home remained an active crime scene after police closed off a large area around the residence.

The shooting and ensuing manhunt practically paralysed San Bernardino, a city of 220,000, with dozens of schools, public offices and hospitals placed on security alert.

President Barack Obama lamented the epidemic of gun violence that he said “has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”

And he repeated his call for Congress to pass “common sense gun safety laws,” including tougher background checks for firearm sales.

*Updated:Earlier Photograph of the couple was culled from social media. And we have pulled it down because of doubts it may be the wrong photo…Editor


Join The Conversation


  • David S says:

    I agree. But let’s also not let Ted Cruz fool us into thinking that the Planned Parenthood attack was carried out by a “Transgendered Leftist Activist”. It’s time for everyone to stop lumping all this senseless carnage into a specific category just to fit ones own personal narrative and political agenda. Let’s call it what it is: Unacceptable violence.. Will stricter gun laws reduce these tragedies? Maybe, but probably not. We’ve already got plenty of guns to go around even if somehow we rewrote the constitution and suspended the 2nd Amendment. And the overwhelming majority of “legal” gun owners aren’t the nutsacks who are carrying out these evil acts. Would more wide-range access to mental health help? Maybe, but not by itself.. No, I think a good beginning in curbing these rampant shootings would be to identify the motivations of the shooters. There has to be a commonality of desperation. And before anyone starts calling me a “Bleeding-Heart Liberal Nanny”, just stop and think. Until we know the WHO and the WHAT that motivates these crazies, we’ll never stop them. And worse yet, more will be bred…

  • bayuse says:

    Thanks for your comment. We are also in search of the lady’s photograph.

  • bill lopez says:

    The only truth we’ll ever get as to what happened yesterday is what the Media wants to feed us.

  • sam says:

    Who is the author of this article? That can’t be a picture of the couple in question. The woman is wearing an Indian (Hindu) sari…NOT a Muslim dress. The author should do due diligence before posting incorrect information and making the wrong community look bad…unless, of course, the author is trying to deflect blame and is doing so on purpose. The fact that NO one else has a picture of the couple lends weight that the author of this article purposefully chose to include a FAKE picture. BTW, Indians/Hindus have been fighting the same type of Muslim extremists for hundreds of years.

  • Art Huge says:

    Gun Violence? They made bombs and left them!!, You dont goto walmart and buy a couple bombs.. This was planned and organized. Dont let Obama fool you into thinking this was workplace violence or anything other then Muslims killing Christians. They did it at a Christmas party which they knew no Muslims would be attentending because it is against their faith to worship an idol such as a christmas tree…

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