Three separate law-enforcement experts told CNN on Friday that they were appalled that the media was allowed to enter and rummage through the home of two mass-shooting suspects that day.
“I’m really shocked here,” one expert, Harry Houck, told the network. “I’m shaking over it. That’s how irresponsible it is for law enforcement.”
In a live-television spectacle Friday, the landlord of the apartment where the two San Bernardino, California, mass-shooting suspects had lived reportedly allowed journalists into the residence.
A pack of camera crews subsequently poured through the home, sifting through and publicizing documents, examining photos, and more.
“I’m having chills down my spine what I’m seeing here,” Houck said. “This apartment clearly is full of evidence. … I am so shocked, I cannot believe it. This is ‘Detective 101’ for crying out loud! Now we have it looks like dozens of people in there totally destroying a crime scene, which is still vital in this investigation.”
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan similarly said he was “shocked by it.”
“I have never seen anything like this. And I think that it indicates a shocking degree of negligence and really recklessness by law-enforcement authorities here,” Callan said, according to video posted by Mediaite.
Callan noted that law-enforcement authorities said they were finished with the apartment. But he argued that investigators may not yet know what might need from the home, especially if potential accomplices are identified.
The two suspects who lived in the home both died in a firefight with police after they allegedly killed 14 people in San Bernardino on Wednesday.
“You have a contaminated crime scene now. And any criminal-defence lawyer or any criminal prosecutor can tell you that it’s not unusual when you go back to a crime scene months later to find additional evidence,” Callan said. “To see this crime scene being rummaged as it is and publicized, I’m shocked by it.”
CNN law-enforcement analyst Jonathan Gilliam was even blunter in his assessment.
“This is the biggest visible screwup in investigative history that I think has ever occurred,” Gilliam told the network. “That a terrorist incident just happened and reporters are going through and looking at IDs and pictures. All of that should be evidentiary.”
Gilliam added, “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m speechless.”
“Never have I seen something like this,” Callan said. “It’s really a shocking abandonment of responsibility by law-enforcement authorities here. … What they have done here is they have turned a crime scene in a terrorist mass murder into a garage sale. Because that’s what it looks like as these cameras go through the house.”
Despite these concerns, the FBI appeared to dismiss the outrage as unwarranted. FBI spokeswoman Lourdes Arocho told Business Insider that “our search is over at that location.”
“Once we turn that location back over to the occupants of that residence — or once we board it up — anyone who goes in at that point, that’s got nothing to do with us,” David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, added during a Friday-afternoon press conference.
Watch Houck describe his shock on CNN below:
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