FBI investigating mass shooting in San Bernardino as ‘act of terrorism’

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2015) — The latest on the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California:

2:29 p.m.

The FBI says it is investigating the deadly mass shooting in California as an “act of terrorism.”

David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, made the declaration at a news conference Friday in California.

He also said the shooters attempted to destroy evidence, including crushing two cell phones and discarding them in a trash can. He said authorities continue to investigate the case to understand the motivations of the shooters and whether they were planning more attacks.

1:45 p.m.

The woman who helped her husband kill 14 people at holiday party in California praised the leader of the Islamic State group in a Facebook post just minutes into the attack.

A Facebook executive told The Associated Press that Tashfeen Malik posted the material under an alias account at 11 a.m. Wednesday. That was about the time the first 911 calls came in and when the couple were believed to have stormed into the San Bernardino social service center and opened fire.

The executive spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not allowed under corporate policy to be quoted by name.

The company discovered the Facebook account Thursday. It removed the profile from public view and reported its contents to law enforcement.


1:20 p.m.

Pakistani intelligence officials say Tashfeen Malik, one of the shooters in the California massacre, moved as a child with her family to Saudi Arabia 25 years ago.

The two officials say the family is originally from the Pakistani town of Karor Lal Esan, about 200 miles southwest of the capital of Islamabad in Punjab province. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the press.

Her father, Gulzar Malik, moved to Saudi Arabia about three decades ago for work. The officials say his family — including Tashfeen Malik, then only a few years old — joined him there 25 years ago and have lived there since.

Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, killed 14 people at a holiday banquet for his co-workers before dying in a gunbattle with police.


12:45 p.m.

An expert says the revelation that one of the California attackers pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook suggests the woman was inspired by IS ideology but wasn’t necessarily in direct touch with the group.

John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator for the Homeland Security Department and a Rutgers University professor, said those people are harder to detect.

He says the counterterrorism infrastructure is built on preventing tightly organized attacks directed by a specific group, not detecting people inspired by IS but operating independently. He says that means different tools are needed to prevent those types of attacks.

Cohen says IS has aggressively used social media and have “successfully inspired thousands of people.”

Tashfeen Malik helped her husband, Syed Farook, kill 14 people at a holiday banquet for his county co-workers before dying in a gunbattle with police.


12:35 p.m.

A California landlord has invited media into the town house rented by the California attackers.

An MSNBC reporter on Friday found a crib, toys, a child’s book of the Quran, family pictures and shredded documents inside the Redlands, California, home. There was a computer screen, but no computer.

Authorities have said that Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, stockpiled 12 pipe bombs, tools to make more explosives and well over 4,500 rounds of ammunition at the home. The couple had a 6-month-old daughter.

The residence is in a neighboring city to San Bernardino, where the couple opened fire on a holiday party of Farook’s county co-workers Wednesday, killing 14 people.


11 a.m.

A U.S. law enforcement official says the wife of the couple blamed in the deadly California shootings pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and the terror group’s leader on Facebook using an alias then deleted the messages before the attacks.

Specifics details about Tashfeen Malik’s postings weren’t disclosed Friday by the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not allowed to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The remarkable disclosure about Malik’s online activities provided the first significant details suggesting a motive for her participation with her husband, Syed Farook, in the shootings that killed 14 people and injured 21.

Malik was a Pakistani woman who came to the U.S. in 2014 on a fiancee visa before Farook married her in California.


8:50 a.m.

The brother-in-law of one of the attackers in San Bernardino, California, says Syed Farook was a ‘bad person,’ but he wasn’t radical.

Farhan Khan also told NBC News he is beginning the legal process to adopt Farook’s 6-month-old daughter, who was dropped off with relatives Wednesday morning before the shooting that left 14 dead. Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were killed in a shootout with police following their deadly rampage.

In excerpts of the interview released Friday, Khan expressed disbelief that Farook would leave behind his infant girl and said he was angry with Farook for the attack.

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