A shooting in California, by a husband-and-wife team, killed 14 people and wounded 17 others in what could be a terrorist attack on Wednesday morning, December 2, 2015. The perpetrators sprayed bullets at a holiday banquet for county health department workers inside the Inland Regional Center, a state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California. In the afternoon, police chased a black SUV and killed the armed occupants identified as Southern California county employee Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27.
According to Fox News, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said that U.S.-born Farook worked at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, while Malik’s nationality was unknown. Law enforcement officials found the couple equipped with AR-15 rifles and pistols, “rollout bags” with multiple pipe bombs, and GoPro cameras strapped to their body armor.
The fact that the couple were suited up in tactical clothing, including vests stuffed with ammunition magazines, indicated preparedness for a sustained fight. Farook and Malik wore body armor and masks, and used military tactics while shooting their victims with precision in the California incident.
Fox News reported that the shooting occurred just before 11 a.m. at the holiday banquet in California. As the attackers opened fire, people who could not flee in time hid under desks or in nearby rooms.
According to NBC News, police reported that after the shooting, the attackers fled in a black SUV around 11 a.m. some 55 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, California.
About four and a half hours after the bloodbath, police following a tip to the nearby town of Redlands pursued a car believed seen at the shooting location, according to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan in California. Two suspects in the SUV led a police chase back to San Bernardino, where the male and female occupants were killed in a firefight.
While Farook and Malik are believed to be the only perpetrators of the shooting, their motive is being investigated. Police Chief Burguan released the following statement on the possible reason for the unprovoked attack in the California facility for the disabled.
“We have not ruled out terrorism.”
At a news conference called by the Los Angeles area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Farook’s brother-in-law, Farhan Khan, said the shooting bewildered him. He made the following statement at the conference held in Anaheim, California.
“Why would he do that? Why would he do something like this? I have absolutely no idea, I am in shock myself.”
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR in Los Angeles, confirmed that Farook and his wife had been missing since Wednesday morning around the time of the shooting in California. Meanwhile, CAIR is listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, according to the Washington Post, posing questions about its correlation with the shooting incident in California.
Islamic reformer Tawfik Hamid, in a Wall Street Journal article, called CAIR “perhaps the most conspicuous organization to persistently accuse opponents of Islamophobia.” Referring back to a “flying Imams incident” lawsuit, he showed how CAIR employs the charge of “Islamophobia” as a tool to intimidate and blackmail those critical of “current Islamic practices and preachings.” How this information relates to the shooting in California remains to be seen.
While the federal government declined to release the identities of the suspects in the shooting attack in San Bernardino, California, the name of Syed Farook overheard on police scanners, was leaked to the media. A press conference at the CAIR-LA office in Anaheim at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday did not shed light to the motive behind the shooting in California, simply cautioned, “…do not implicate Islam or Muslims”.
[Photo by Getty Images]