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Suspects dropped off baby before San Bernardino shooting rampage

The woman suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting rampage with her husband in San Bernardino was Pakistani, a federal source confirmed.

Tashfeen Malik’s background is now the focus of a developing investigation, the source said. On Thursday morning, federal agents continued to comb a Redlands residence — a brown, two-story townhouse nestled on Center Street among a row of matching buildings with well-trimmed lawns — linked to the shooting.

Authorities say Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Malik, 27, opened fire at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Wednesday morning.

Earlier, the married couple left their daughter with the child's grandmother in Redlands, saying they had a doctor’s appointment. Hours later, they were killed in a shootout with police.

“Why would he do something like this? I have absolutely no idea. I am in shock myself,” said Farook’s brother-in-law, Farhan Khan. “I just cannot express how sad I am for what happened today .… I’m very sad that people lost their life and there are victims out there.”


For the record, 7:32 a.m.: An earlier version of this post identified Farhan Khan as Farook's brother. They were brothers-in-law.


The grandmother grew worried when she heard of the shooting and “she started calling. No answer,” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles office.

Farook and Malik allegedly opened fire on a holiday party being held at the center for the San Bernardino County Public Health Department.

Farook, who had worked for the department for five years, left the party "under some circumstances that were described as angry," San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.

Farook and Malik were dressed in black masks and tactical gear, armed with long guns and pistols, when they entered the holiday party as it was in full swing, police said. Before they fled, they had killed 14 people and wounded 17 others.

Two of the four weapons used in the shooting were legally purchased, according to Meredith Davis, public information officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles. She said agents would "continue to investigate leads concerning the two additional firearms."

Four hours after the shooting, authorities chased a black sport utility vehicle with two people inside from a home in nearby Redlands. As TV news helicopters broadcast live from overhead, the chase spilled back onto San Bernardino's streets, where authorities and the suspects traded gunfire. Farook and Malik were killed.

Coworkers described Farook as quiet and polite, and said he had no obvious grudges with anyone in the office. He had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a woman he met online, they said. 

The couple had a baby and appeared to be “living the American dream,” said Patrick Baccari, a fellow inspector who shared a cubicle with Farook.

Baccari and Christian Nwadike said Farook, who they said had worked with them for about three years, rarely started a conversation. But the tall, thin young man with a full beard was well-liked and spent much of his time out in the field.

They and other colleagues said Farook was a devout Muslim, but rarely discussed religion at work.

"He never struck me as a fanatic, he never struck me as suspicious," said Griselda Reisinger, who worked with Farook before leaving the department in May.

Reisinger said she heard that the office recently threw a baby shower for Farook and that he had taken paternity leave.

A third person was detained in the area where the pursuit ended, but authorities said they had not connected that person to the shooting. During a news conference Wednesday night, Burguan said police believe there were only two shooters.

A federal law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times that the suspects hurled what were believed to be pipe bombs at police during the vehicle pursuit. Burguan said police recovered one device, but it turned out not to be an explosive. 

Burguan said police also discovered a device at the scene of the shooting that might have been an explosive and were working late into the night to dispose of it. Several items of concern were found inside the SUV, and investigators were trying to determine whether any of those items were dangerous.

The attack at the Inland Regional Center, which serves developmentally disabled people, rippled across San Bernardino. All county schools, city government buildings and courthouses were locked down. School officials, however, emphasized that students had not been in danger and were dismissed on the regular schedule.

Many of those facilities were expected to reopen Thursday morning.

Staff writers James Queally, Joseph Serna, Veronica Rocha, Kate Mather,Brian Bennett, Garrett Therolf, Louis Sahagun, Hailey Branson-Potts and Taylor Goldenstein contributed to this report. This article will be updated.


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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


7:32 a.m.: This story has been updated with details about the suspects.

This story was originally published at 5:38 a.m.