On Thursday, US President Barack Obama told his nation that police were still trying to determine the motive behind the shooting and urged US lawmakers to bring strict gun control laws.
In an address broadcast directly from the White House, Mr Obama said: “At this stage, we do not know why this terrible event occurred.” He noted that the attackers were “equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes. But we don’t know why they did it.”
Both shooters — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed later in a police chase near San Bernardino.
Tashfeen was born in Pakistan but Farook was born in Illinois. They met and married last year in Saudi Arabia where, according to the US media, Farook was exposed to extremist literature.
Police said the couple left their six-month-old girl with Farook’s grandmother on Wednesday and said they had a doctor’s appointment.
The grandmother became concerned when she saw reports of the shooting and couldn’t reach Farook. She thought Farook might have been wounded in the shooting but learned later that he was the shooter.
President Obama said the investigation was now under control of the FBI. “It is possible this was terrorist-related but we don’t know. It’s also possible this was workplace-related.”
But he assured his nation that US law-enforcement agencies would “get to the bottom of this and that we are going to be vigilant, as we always are, in getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments in terms of how this occurred”.
Police said the shooters came to the Inland Regional Centre dressed in “assault-style clothing” and opened fire at the health department’s employees who were attending a holiday party.
After hours-long manhunt, police killed the two suspects they later identified as a couple. Farook was a county health inspector who came to the party but left within an hour and apparently returned with his wife and the weapons.
“They had long guns and wearing masks. They had come prepared for this mass shooting,” San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters.
Police recovered two handguns and two rifles from the van the couple used to flee when security personnel surrounded their home in nearby Redlands, California.
Farook had purchased the guns legally three or four years ago. Someone else purchased the two rifles, also legally three or four years ago.
Farook’s father told a news conference in Anaheim, California, that he was shocked to learn of his son’s possible involvement in the attack.
“He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim,” said the shell-shocked dad, also named Syed Farook.
Farhan Khan, the brother of Tashfeen, said he had “no idea” what the couple’s motive could have been. “Why would he (Farook) do something like this? I have no idea. I’m in shock myself.” -Dawn
THE PASHTUN TIMES