SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Police released a wealth of new details at a press conference Thursday afternoon about the San Bernardino shooting massacre that killed 14.
They say the attackers had more than 1,600 bullets with them when they were gunned down by police in their SUV.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at the news conference Thursday that Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, also had more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition at their home, 12 pipe bombs and hundreds of tools that could be used to make improvised explosive devices.
Burguan says Farook and Malik sprayed a room at the county’s social service center with bullets, but police didn’t know if any one person was targeted. It happened during a holiday party.
A U.S. intelligence official says Farook had been in touch on social media with extremists who are under FBI scrutiny.
The official says investigators are still trying to determine whether and how he became radicalized and whether he was in contact with any foreign terrorist organization.
Twenty-one people were wounded in the shooting. Authorities previously said that number was 17. Fourteen people were killed.
The majority of the victims have been identified, and a number of family notifications have been made. The names of the victims have not been released to the public.
Police and the FBI say the attack was planned but they do not know a motive.
Asked whether the San Bernardino shooters — given the amount of ammunition and bombs they had — may have been planning something different but instead did Wednesday’s shooting impulsively, the FBI’s David Bowdich answered: “If you look at the amount of obvious pre-planning that went in, the amount of armaments (they) had, the weapons and the ammunition, there was obviously a mission here. We know that. We do not know why. We don’t know if this was the intended target or if there was something that triggered him to do this immediately. We just don’t know. Again, that’s going to take time for us to get to that answer.”
President Barack Obama said Thursday “it’s possible” the mass shooting was terrorist related.
“At this stage we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred,” Obama said, speaking from the Oval Office, while raising the possibility that the shooting could also have been the result of workplace violence.
Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2013 for the Hajj for a couple of weeks, two U.S. government officials said.
One of the officials explained that this is a common occurrence, and the trip would not have raised any red flags, because many Americans travel to Saudi Arabia during that time.
The U.S. government believes Farook met Malik during that trip, and Malik eventually came to the United States on a “fiancee visa,” the official said. Malik, who was born in Pakistan, then obtained a green card, becoming a lawful permanent resident, the official said.
Farook was in touch over the phone and via social media with more than one international terrorism subject who the FBI were already investigating, law enforcement officials said. It appears that Farook was radicalized, which contributed to his motive, though other things — like workplace grievances — may have also played a role, other law enforcement sources said.
Officer-involved shooting with police
When they were killed by police following the shooting, the shooters had on their person or in their vehicle more than 1,400 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition and more than 200 9-mm rounds, Burguan said.
Twenty-three police officers fired 380 rounds at the shooters, killing them.
The shooters were not wearing bulletproof vests, but rather tactical gear that allowed them to carry items, such as ammunition.
In their home and garage, police found 12 pipe bomb-type devices, plus hundreds of tools, many of which could be used to construct improvised explosive devices, or pipe bombs, he said.
Investigators are also looking into whether a certain, nonworking device that the shooters left at the original shooting scene — three explosive devices rigged to a remote-controlled car — was connected in any way to al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine, David Bowdich, assistant director for the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said Thursday.
Asked by a reporter whether the device could be linked to the magazine, Bowdich replied, “We’re looking into it.”
For more details released during Thursday’s press conference, click here.