San Bernardino shooting: Attackers may have left bomb to kill police, used …

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Couple practiced at shooting ranges before California attack.

Investigators probing the attack that left 14 people dead in a San Bernardino conference room are trying to determine whether the married couple who opened fire last week also left a bomb at the massacre scene with the hopes that the device would kill police officers, a source familiar with the investigation told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. Federal authorities discovered an empty GoPro package, shooting targets and tools inside a black Lexus sedan registered to the mother of jihadist Syed Rizwan Farook.

And in an eerie coincidence, officials disclosed that a year before the rampage, county health department employees had undergone “active shooter” training in the same conference room where shots rang out last week. Sources also told The Times that the couple obtained a $28,500 cash loan just weeks before the deadly shootings, further suggesting that they had been planning the assault for some time.

While investigators have denied that Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, used GoPro cameras when they slaughtered 14 people in San Bernardino, the empty GoPro boxes were among several items — including a hammer, vise grips, and an Apple iPhone — recovered from the car, according to the Daily Mail. SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — Days before killing 14 people at a holiday party, Syed Farook practiced with a rifle during one of several recent visits to a Southern California shooting range, authorities said.

The items were hidden inside a canvas bag left behind by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, according to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan. Farook visited Riverside Magnum Range on Nov. 29 and 30, according to an instructor at the range about 20 miles from the Inland Regional Center, where the couple opened fire on Farook’s co-workers Dec. 2. Mourners also gathered Monday at San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors building to mark the first day about 20,000 county employees returned to work since the shooting. The build of the device is similar to the schematics for other crude explosives that often fill the pages of Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine, a newsletter often fawned over by radicals seeking guidance in planning attacks. The $28,500 deposit, which was made on or about Nov. 18, came from WebBank.com, which describes itself on its website as a Utah-based provider of “national consumer and commercial private-label and bank card financing programs.” Authorities are investigating whether the transaction was a loan taken out by Farook, who earned $53,000 a year with the county as an environmental health inspector.

John Galletta said that nothing was out of the ordinary about Farook’s behavior but that Farook asked a range employee why his rifle might be smoking. But they stress the investigation is still in the early stages. “We are attempting to expand that investigation out and build it and build a picture of each person, the timeline and ultimately the crimes they committed,” said David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office. “That takes time. The discovery adds a chilling new dimension to the ongoing FBI investigation as helmet-mounted GoPros have been used by ISIS fanatics before to capture dramatic footage for online recruitment videos. The source described the financial transactions as “significant evidence of premeditation,” Fox News reported, and discount the theory that an argument at a Dec. 2 Christmas party sparked the massacre in which 14 people died and 21 were wounded.

The four-door sedan was located just a few minutes’ walk from the Farooks’ apartment as FBI agents stormed the property last Wednesday afternoon to search for guns and explosives. An inventory left behind on the front seat read: ‘Apple iPhone, multi-tool, key, business card, miscellaneous indicia, bank receipt, shooting targets, hammer, vice grips, U-Haul receipt, tire receipt, notebook, garment, GoPro packaging, vacuumings, legal documents’. Meanwhile, Syed Farook’s father, also named Syed, is being monitored by the FBI because of his son’s terrorist status and his own trips to Pakistan. It was not immediately clear whether Farook attended the session, according to county spokeswoman Felisa Cardona, who said it was held in November or December 2014.

Syed Farook is also listed on insurance documents as a named driver but it is now known whether he or his mother drove the 2005 vehicle more, or who the GoPro and the items found inside belonged to. Before embarking on last week’s mass shooting, he and Malik left their six-month-old daughter at home with Rafia, saying they had to go to a doctor’s appointment. Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the FBI was examining what Rafia knew about her son’s plans and his massive weapons hoard.

FBI officials have said that Farook had “some contact” with someone known to the FBI in this country and also reached out digitally to at least two members of foreign terror groups, including one in Somalia, said a federal law enforcement official who is unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter. Lawyers representing her and her three other children, Syed Raheel, Eba, 24, and Saira, 32, insist they had no inkling that two of their loved-ones were about to launch the worst terror attack on US soil since the 2009 Fort Hood shooting. On Monday, the FBI said it appeared Farook and Malik had been self-radicalized “for quite some time,” and the cache of weapons and bomb-making equipment found inside the couple’s Redlands home suggested the attack was premeditated. THis means that someone comes to hold extreme political beliefs — in this case becoming a terrorist — without being part of a larger terrorist organization. Farook, a 28-year-old restaurant inspector born in the U.S. to a Pakistani family, and Malik, a 29-year-old immigrant from Pakistan, attacked the holiday luncheon around the same time Malik pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook, authorities said.

Scrubbing the backgrounds of the couple — who were killed in a shootout with police hours after their rampage — has been an international effort, with cooperation from foreign governments. Mr Farook despaired at the choice his son had made and questioned why with a stable income, a new baby daughter and a seemingly happy marriage and life he appears to have become radicalized into following ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Hassan is believed to have encouraged the gunmen who attempted to storm a convention center in Texas earlier this year, where attendees had entered a contest to draw cartoon renditions of the prophet Muhammad.

In Pakistan, where Malik attended college and Farook’s parents were born, the interior minister announced that an inquiry into the shooters’ backgrounds had been launched. TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan attached a camera to himself before gunning down 24-year-old Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward, 27, at close range. 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. An unidentified police officer put out Farook’s name because a witness said 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. He is in the custody of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency in Mogadishu, and U.S. officials are discussing his case with Somali government leaders, according to a State Department spokeswoman.

Marquez has not been charged with a crime. “We weren’t quite sure if it was an exercise the staff were throwing that they forgot to tell us about,” he said, “but we all reacted instinctively and went under our tables.” Pritchard reported from Los Angeles. Farook, observed as quiet and withdrawn, struck up a friendship with Marquez, who shared a similar interest in tinkering with cars, a neighbor recalled.

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