California Shootings: 14 dead, two suspects killed after chase
By: VOA News
Source: VOA News
Authorities in San Bernardino, California have confirmed the identities of the two suspects in Wednesday’s shooting spree at social services agency that left 14 people dead and 17 others injured.
The suspects were identified by San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan early Thursday morning as U.S.-born Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. Farook had earlier been identified as one of the suspects by various news outlets. Burguan said the two were either married or engaged. Both the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times say the two were married and the parents of a baby.
Burguan also confirmed earlier reports that Farook was an employee of the San Bernardino county health department, which was holding a Christmas party on the campus of the Inland Regional Center, which provides services for developmentally disabled people.
Farook angrily left the party before returning with Malik, both of them heavily armed with assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns.
Farook and Malik were later tracked by police to a residence in the nearby town of Redlands. A car chase between police and the two suspects ended in a gun battle that left both Farook and Malik dead, and a police officer wounded. The officer’s injuries were non-life threatening.
A third person was arrested while trying to flee the shootout, but the chief said it is unclear what he was doing at the scene.
Burguan said it was obvious the couple had engaged in “some degree of planning” in the attack. He said no motive had been discovered for the massacre, but added that terrorism has not been ruled out. He said three explosive devices were found in the building and disposed of, while a robot was deployed at the house in Redlands to search for possible explosives.
Earlier Thursday, Farook’s brother-in-law, Farhan Kahn, offered his condolences for the victims at a press conference held by the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Kahn said he had no idea why Farook carried out the attack.
“We unequivocally condemn the horrific act that happened today,” CAIR executive director Hussam Ayloush told reporters. “We stand in solidarity in repudiating any possible ideology or mindset that could have led to such [a] horrific act.”
Patrick Baccari, a co-worker of Farook, said he traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this year and returned with a wife, although he did not say the woman was Malik.
Wednesday’s mass shooting was the worst in the United States since 2012, when 20 children and six teachers were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Pattern of mass shootings
President Barack Obama, who was being interviewed by CBS television when news of the San Bernardino shooting first broke, said the U.S. has a pattern of mass shootings that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.
He said there are steps that can be taken to make Americans safer, adding that officials in every level of government should come together on a bipartisan basis to make such shootings rare instead of normal.
This shooting comes less than a week after a gunman killed three people and wounded nine in a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In October, a gunman killed nine people at a college in Oregon and in June a white gunman killed nine black churchgoers in South Carolina.