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San Bernardino shooters Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook were radicalized, FBI says

Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook arrive

Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook arrive at Chicago O'Hare International Airport in July 2014. Credit: ABC News

Both of the San Bernardino shooters, who together killed 14 people and injured 21 last week, had been radicalized “for quite some time,” though it was unclear who first adopted extremist ideology.

FBI assistant director in charge David Bowdich, speaking at a news conference yesterday afternoon in California, also said that investigators found 19 pipes in Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik’s Redlands apartment. Initially, authorities had found 12 pipe bombs.

“That is not 19 pipe bombs, but 19 pipes that could be turned into pipe bombs,” he said.

Investigators are looking into what led Malik, 29, and Farook, 28, to commit what President Barack Obama called “an act of terrorism.”

According to media accounts, Farook’s father of the same name said his son had become obsessed with Israel. He said the younger Farook supported ISIS, including the creation of an Islamic State, and had obtained firearms, all to his father’s chagrin, the reports say.

The father’s comments support Bowdich’s statements. “We believe that both subjects were radicalized — and had been for quite some time,” he said.

Bowdich added that the couple had recently engaged in target practice at local gun ranges — and within days of the shooting — calling the rampage “a human tragedy.”

“Yes, we do have evidence that both of the subjects participated at target practice at some ranges within the metro area or within the Los Angeles area . . . within days of this event,” Bowdich said.

The couple was killed in a shootout with police hours after the massacre.

He said some 400 people have been interviewed about the case, including Rafia Farook, the male shooter’s mother. She lived with her son, his wife and their 6-month-old daughter, now orphaned.

Investigators have collected more than 320 pieces of evidence related to the killings, and much of it has already been transferred to Washington, D.C., for further study.

Bowdich said law enforcement was trying to find out if there were other people involved in the planning or financing of the shooting.

He said investigators are poring over video and other evidence.

Bowdich downplayed the possibility of overseas ties, saying, “We are looking at these two individuals and we are beginning to focus, to build it out from there.”

John D’Angelo, assistant special agent in charge for The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said five guns were recovered in relation to this investigation and that all were purchased from federal firearm licensees in California between 2007 and 2012.

Farook purchased three of them, D’Angelo said. His friend, Enrique Marquez of Riverside, California, bought the other two.

D’Angelo said authorities do not yet know how the two firearms ended up in the hands of Farook and his wife.

Reports say Marquez checked himself into a mental health facility after the attack.

The reopening of much of San Bernardino’s government offices yesterday signals an effort to return to normalcy for a community that has been in shock and mourning since Wednesday.

“To honor them, to express our gratitude for their unimaginable sacrifice, we have to fight to maintain that ordinary,” San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford said yesterday of the victims. “We can’t be afraid of our lives, of our community, of our neighbors, of our co-workers.”

Pakistani intelligence officials said Malik attended a religious school while living in Pakistan: Al-Huda International Seminary’s founder has been criticized for promoting a conservative strain of Islam. The school has no known links to extremists.

With The Associated Press

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