San Bernardino shooters were radicalized for while: FBI

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

FBI talking to man who bought guns used in massacre.

The San Bernardino killers had been radicalized “for quite some time” and had taken target practice at area gun ranges, in one instance just days before the attack that left 14 people dead, the FBI said Monday. In a chilling twist, authorities also disclosed that a year before the rampage, Syed Farook’s co-workers at the county health department underwent “active shooter” training in the same conference room where he and his wife opened fire on them last week.

It was not immediately clear whether Farook attended the late-2014 session on what to do when a gunman invades the workplace, San Bernardino County spokeswoman Felisa Cardona said. Police previously said that two handguns used in the attack were purchased by Farook and his wife-turned-accomplice Tashfeen Malik, but the other two guns – highly modified “assault-style” weapons — had been purchased by an unidentified third party. Two employees who survived the attack said colleagues reacted Wednesday by trying to do as they had been trained — dropping under the tables and staying quiet so as not to attract attention. Sources say that Marquez is not considered a suspect in the shooting, but the FBI would like to learn more from him — including how gunman Syed Farook obtained those rifles. Farook, a 28-year-old restaurant inspector born in the U.S. to a Pakistani family, and Tashfeen Malik, a 29-year-old immigrant from Pakistan, went on the rampage at a holiday luncheon at about the same time Malik pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook, authorities said.

San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said Saturday that the FBI told him that Marquez’s house on Tomlinson Avenue was searched for the purpose of gathering evidence in the purchase of the rifles. But she was not seen as a threat. “Absolutely not,” says Walsh. “Her teachers say that she was a student who was obviously religious but otherwise was pretty unremarkable. Newly released emergency radio transmissions from the fast-moving tragedy show that police identified Farook as a suspect almost immediately, even though witnesses reported that the attackers wore black ski masks. Her father was estranged from the rest of the family, initially over a property dispute, and then because he adopted the stricter Saudi style of Islam.

An unidentified police officer put out Farook’s name because Farook had left the luncheon “out of the blue” 20 minutes before the shooting, “seemed nervous,” and matched the description of one of the attackers, according to audio recordings posted by The Press-Enterprise newspaper of Riverside. In addition to providing information about the rifles, Marquez may have other information that could help federal investigators as they continue to probe the shooter’s background. The killers had “gone down the dark path of radicalization,” he said, but there was no evidence they were part of a larger conspiracy or were directed by an overseas terror organization. ISIS did not directly take credit for the attack, but praised Farook and Malik as “martyrs.” Saira Khan and Eba Farook, the two sisters of Syed Rizwan Farook, expressed anguish at the tragedy. Meanwhile, most of the county’s 20,000 employees went back to work for the first time since the rampage five days earlier plunged the community into shock and mourning. “To honor them, to express our gratitude for their unimaginable sacrifice, we have to fight to maintain that ordinary,” County Supervisor Janice Rutherford said of the victims. “We can’t be afraid of our lives, of our community, of our neighbors, of our co-workers.” Employees in the environmental health division, where Farook and many of his victims worked, will be off until next week.

Dev GnanaDev, chief of surgery at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, “is that none of the 14 who perished had a chance.” A custody hearing for Farook and Malik’s 6-month-old daughter was held Monday, with Farook’s sister seeking to adopt the baby, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said. Law enforcement officials are scouring social media for clues about the attackers’ intentions and are also examining evidence recovered after the attack, including several mobile phones that appeared to have been intentionally damaged to prevent their exploitation.

Instead, under the new USA Freedom Act, authorities were able to obtain roughly two years’ worth of calling records directly from the phone companies. Escamilla said the four people who lived at Marquez’s house were “outdoorsy.” He didn’t talk with them much but said Marquez had seemed “withdrawn” in the past three weeks.

It is hard for ISIS to get trained, sophisticated operators in place compared to Europe, where there are more foreign fighters who can travel quite easily. What you have is do-it-yourself type of terrorism, and where ISIS inspires and aids indirectly.” Levin said there is debate in the extremist world whether it is preferable to wait until terrorist groups can sneak trained fighters into a country or whether you cultivate players to join your team who are not sophisticated terrorists. Those outsourced terrorists are more difficult for law enforcement to detect because they do not usually communicate over channels that can be intercepted, Levin said. “Why weren’t they out in the country? Rani added that she thinks the madrassa belongs to the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam, a particularly conservative interpretation of the faith that is widely practiced in Saudi Arabia. “We were like, ‘What happened to Malik?’” said Rani, who attended school with Malik all six years. “She became so religious, so serious and so focused on Islamic teachings, and she lost her interest in her studies.”

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