One of the suspects in the San Bernardino, California, shooting that left 14 people dead had been “radicalized,” according to several reports Thursday.
Farook is suspected of carrying out the shooting at the Inland Regional Center — a county organisation that provides services to the disabled — along with his wife, 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik.
Malik moved to California with Farook in 2014 and was living in the US under a K-1 visa with a Pakistani passport, said David Bowdich, the assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles bureau. Both suspects died Wednesday in a shootout with police.
CNN reported that Farook was in touch with extremists who were being investigated by the FBI for terrorism. The Times reported that the FBI is now treating the San Bernardino shooting as a counterterrorism investigation.
Law-enforcement officials told The Times that the FBI has evidence that Farook “was in contact over several years with extremists domestically and abroad, including at least one person in the United States who was investigated for suspected terrorism by federal authorities in recent years,” according to the newspaper.
These communications were reportedly via phone and social media, according to CNN.
“He could have been radicalized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dispute at work and decided to do something,” a law-enforcement official told The Times.
Local police officials said at a press conference on Thursday that Farook was not on their radar for terrorism.
Authorities have not yet specified a motive for the attack.
Farook is thought to have travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2013 for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. He reportedly met Malik, a native of Pakistan, on that trip. He then reportedly travelled to Pakistan in 2014 and returned to the US with Malik.
Farook was born in Illinois to Pakistani parents, The Times reports. He worked at the San Bernardino County Health Department for five years. The shooting occurred during a holiday party for the health department.
Farook reportedly attended the party before he returned for the massacre, and left the event “under some circumstances that were described as angry,” the San Bernardino police chief told reporters at a press conference. He came back with his wife to carry out the shooting at about 11 a.m. local time.
At Farook and Malik’s home, authorities found “several hundred” .22 long rifle rounds, 12 “pipe bomb-type devices,” “hundreds of tools, many of which could be used to construct IEDs or pipe bombs,” 2,000 9mm rounds, and 2,500 .223 rounds of ammunition.
At the Inland Regional Center, the couple was reportedly armed with four guns: two semiautomatic handguns and two .223-calibre assault rifles, all of which were purchased legally. They also had 1,400 .223 calibre rounds and 200 9 mm rounds on their person as they were pursued by police, officials said.
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