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Motive still a mystery for the police, family

REUTERS/PTI
Published : Dec 4, 2015, 6:13 am IST
Updated : Dec 4, 2015, 6:13 am IST

Authorities on Thursday were working to determine why a couple opened fire at a holiday party in Southern California.

Authorities on Thursday were working to determine why a couple opened fire at a holiday party in Southern California.

Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, were killed in a shootout with the police after Wedn-esday’s bloodshed at the Inland Regional Centre in the city of San Bernardi-no, a social services age-ncy where Farook worked as an inspector. Meredith Davis, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two rifles and two handguns recovered at the scene of the shootout were bought legally in the United States. Two of the guns were purchased by someone “associated with this investigation,” while the buyer of the other two was not linked to the investigation, she said.

The long guns were .223-calibre and their ammunition can go through protective vests and walls, Davis said. A law enforcement source told the network that the couple were each carrying an AR-15 rifle and a pistol when they were shot by the police after a brief chase in their black SUV over 3 km from the initial shooting site.

The source said the vehicle also contained so-called “rollout bags” with multiple pipe bombs, as well as additional ammunition. The couple also had GoPro cameras strapped to their body armour and wore tactical clothing, including vests stuffed with ammunition magazines.

“That’s a military tactic for a sustained fight,” the source said of the rollout bags. In addition to the explosives found at the SUV, authorities discovered and detonated three pipe bombs at the Inland Regional Centre, the complex where the initial shooting took place.

Another source described a house in Redlands that was being searched in connection with the shooting as “an IED facility.” The source said investigators discovered multiple pipe bombs in the house, as well as small explosives that were strapped to remote-controlled cars.

San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan said the motive remained unclear in the most recent US mass shooting. He and David Bowdich, an assistant regional FBI director, both said it had not been determined if terrorism was a motive.

Farook’s family and co-workers also struggled to make sense of the shooting, the deadliest in the United States in three years. His brother-in-law said he had “absolutely no idea” why Farook would stage a massacre.

Burguan said the manner in which the couple was equipped indicated there was “some degree of planning” behind the attack. There have been more than 350 shootings this year, in which four or more people were wounded or killed in the US, according to the website shootingtracker.com. “I don’t think any community is immune,” San Bernardino may-or Carey Davis said. “Certainly, we don’t anticipate that kind of thing happening here. It was a shock.”

President Barack Obama called for gun law reform to reduce the likelihood of mass shootings. “We have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them,” he said in an interview with CBS News on Thursday. the attack.

The attack appeared to differ from other recent US killing sprees in several ways, including the involvement of two people rather than a lone perpetrator. Co-workers told the Los Angeles Times they were surprised to hear Farook’s name linked to the shootings since he was quiet and polite and did not appear to bear grudges. They told the newspaper he had travelled to Saudi Arabia and returned with his new wife, whom he had met online.

Location: United States, California, San Bernardino