Update: DMV officials have released a driver's license photo of Syed Rizwan Farook.
Earlier today, we profiled Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, the couple who stormed a San Bernardino County holiday party with two assault rifles, killing 14 and wounding 21 more in the deadliest mass shooting America has seen since Sandy Hook.
While the jury is still out on possible motives, Farook did travel to Saudi Arabia before marrying Malik, a Pakistan native who apparently taveled to the US after Farook's trip to the Mid-East.
While that certainly doesn't qualify as conclusive evidence, we did note earlier that according to several profiles Farook set up on dating sites, he identified himself as Sunni and when it comes to radicalizing Sunni Muslims, the Saudis and their brand of puritanitcal Wahhabism are second to none. Of course the connection to the Mid-East is itself enough to arouse suspicion among an American public that's now hyper-sensistive to Islamic extremism in the wake of the Paris attacks and thanks to fact that the issue has been politicized by Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle. Reuters says Farook came back into the US in 2014 and also traveled to Pakistan "at one point."
Here's what we said earlier:
Of course at the end of the day, two people opening fire with assault rifles on a holiday party seems pretty "terrifying" to us regardless of what inspired the shooters, but remember, crises like these are only "useful" in today's world if they serve someone's geopolitical ends so don't be surprised if the mainstream media soon turns up the San Bernardino equivalent of the forged Syrian passport found in Paris three weeks ago.
Sure enough, CNN now reports that Farook was "apparently radicalized" and was "in touch with people being investigated by the FBI for international terrorism." Similarly, NBC says Farook was in contact with "overseas individuals." The FBI now says Farook communicated with people who were on the bureau's radar in connection with a terrorism investigation. Officials also said the contact was with "people who weren't significant players," and was dated. There was no documentation of any "surge" in communication prior to the shooting.
We now know that Malik had a Pakistani passport and came to the U.S. on a fiancee visa. Farook entered the US with Malik in July of 2014. The FBI reportedly "doesn't know all of the countries" Farook visited. AP reports that in order to get the visa, Malik "had to submit to an in-person interview and biometric and background checks to ensure she wasn't a threat to public safety or national security."
According to The NY Times, the FBI is now treating the shooting as a terrorism case.
CNN also says investigators are analyzing an apparent "bomb lab" at Farook's residence. Authorities have reportedly discovered "hundreds" of tools that could be used to make IEDs.
As reported earlier, the couple used a DPMS model and a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 along with two handguns - a llama and a Smith & Wesson - in the attack. The rifles, two .223s, are capable of piercing bulletproof vests. The weapons were purchased legally.
Farook and Malik also placed a "device" consisting of three connected pipe bombs at the scene. Apparently, the remote detonator failed. 65-75 rounds were fired in the initial attack. 76 additional shots were fired at officers.
Found in the suspects' home:
- 2,500 .223 rounds
- 2,000 9mm rounds
- 12 pipe bombs
Found in the black SUV:
- 1,400 .223 rounds
- 200 9mm rounds
The trove of weapons police discovered indicated that the pair were "armed for a second attack."
Additionally, AP has the following account of Farook's family history:
The records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press show that Syed Farook's mother, Rafia, described her husband in 2006 as "irresponsible, negligent and an alcoholic."
She said she was forced to move out of her home with three of her children because her husband continually harassed her "verbally and physically and refused to leave the home."
She filed a no-contact, stay-away domestic violence protection petition on July 3, 2006. She alleged that same year that her husband attacked her while her kids were present, dropped a TV on her and pushed her toward a car.