San Bernardino shooting updates: Obama to give Oval Office address, FBI raids home of shooter's friend

Key developments

  • Two assailants opened fire in San Bernardino at a holiday party in the Inland Regional Center around 11 a.m. Wednesday. 
  • Fourteen people were killed and 21 wounded, most of them county employees. The Times is collecting their stories.
  • The two attackers, who were married, were killed in a gun battle with police. They were U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and Pakistan national Tashfeen Malik, and had an arsenal of ammunition and pipe bombs in their Redlands home.
  • There is no sign the couple were part of a terrorist network, officials said, but it is officially  investigating the shooting as terrorism.  Federal law enforcement sources say the attack might also be workplace related. 
  • Officials said  Malik pledged allegiance to Islamic State  in a Facebook post and Farook had contact with people from at least two terrorist organizations overseas. A radio station and website associated with Islamic State claimed the couple were supporters of the militant group
  • Malik was a onetime "modern girl" who became religious during college and then began posting extremist messages on Facebook after arriving in the U.S., a family member in Pakistan told The Times.
  • President Obama will give a rare address from the Oval Office on Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific time, 8 p.m. Eastern time. 

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Open letter to the female shooter, Tashfeen Malik

You are the definition, the epitome, of a terrible mother.
Bina Shah, a writer of English fiction and a journalist living in Karachi, Pakistan

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Did she corrupt him, or vice versa?

 (Greg Vojtko / AFP / Getty Images / FBI)

(Greg Vojtko / AFP / Getty Images / FBI)

Syed Rizwan Farook was looking for a woman. A few years ago, not long out of college, he went online to find a match.

"Someone who takes her religion very seriously and is always trying to improve her religion and encouraging others to do the same using hikmah (wisdom) and not harshness," he wrote on BestMuslim.com ...

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Obama is told there is no evidence yet San Bernardino attackers were part of broader terrorist cell

 (Evan Vucci / AP)

(Evan Vucci / AP)

Top U.S. officials told President Obama there is still no evidence indicating the two shooters received outside support or were part of a broader terrorist cell, according to the White House.

There were “several pieces of information” the shooters were “radicalized to violence to commit these heinous attacks."

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Obama to discuss 'how we will defeat' terrorism in rare Oval Office address


President Obama on Sunday will take the unusual step of addressing the nation from the Oval Office to discuss his administration's counter-terrorism policies in the wake of the massacre in San Bernardino.

The White House said in a statement that Obama would discuss progress in the San Bernardino investigation and "the broader threat of terrorism -- including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved and how we will defeat it."

"He will reiterate his firm conviction that ISIL will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values -- our unwavering commitment to justice, equality, and freedom -- to prevail over terrorist groups that use violence to advance a destructive ideology," the White House added, using an alternate name for Islamic State.

The Oval Office address would be Obama's first since 2010, when he declared the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq.

Obama vowed Saturday that investigators would "get to the bottom" of the massacre as new details emerged about the woman at the center of the terrorism investigation, Tashfeen Malik.

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What does Islamic State's messaging mean?


A radio station and a website affiliated with Islamic State have claimed that the couple who carried out the San Bernardino mass shooting Wednesday were ”supporters” of the Middle East-based militant group.

But neither of the statements claim Islamic State was responsible for the rampage at the Inland Regional Center that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

Since the formation of Islamic State, the group has used various means of online and off-line media channels to convey its messages and statements, especially when it comes to claiming responsibility for terrorist acts.

Amro Hassan, reporting for The Times from Cairo, takes a look at what the latest communication means.

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'I got you,' San Bernardino shooting victim tells co-worker as bullets flew

Shannon Johnson, 45, left, and Denise Peraza, 27 (Katherine Hotetz via AP)

Shannon Johnson, 45, left, and Denise Peraza, 27 (Katherine Hotetz via AP)

As bullets rained down in a San Bernardino conference room, Shannon Johnson , 45, shielded his co-worker Denise Peraza , 27, from the bullets.

“I got you,” Johnson told her.

Peraza recounted how she and Johnson were seated next to each other on Wednesday morning, joking about how they thought the large clock on the wall might be broken because time seemed to be moving so slowly.

Minutes later, the two huddled next to each other under the same table, using a fallen chair as a shield from the more than 60 rounds of bullets being fired from across the room, she wrote in an email sent to The Times Saturday.

“While I cannot recall every single second that played out that morning, I will always remember his left arm wrapped around me, holding me as close as possible next to him behind that chair,” Peraza said in the statement.

Peraza was shot once in the lower back, she told family members.

Johnson died.

No prayer-shaming here

A memorial for victims of Wednesday's shooting at the Inland Regional Center.  (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

A memorial for victims of Wednesday's shooting at the Inland Regional Center. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Colleen Shalby spent two days in San Bernardino and found that faith has been a uniting force for the community.

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San Bernardino victims had fled violence, extremism, poverty in Iran, Eritrea, Vietnam


An Eritrean emigre, who came to California in 2000 to escape violence.

A mother of three from Iran, who fled Islamic extremism at 18.

A county worker, whose mother brought her from Vietnam at 8, fleeing poverty.

For three victims of the San Bernardino shootings, America seemed like a promise of safety.

“It is the ultimate irony that her life would be stolen from her by what appears to be the same type of extremism that she fled so many years ago,” the family of Bennetta Betbadal, 46, the Iranian immigrant, said in statement.

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President Obama to address nation Sunday on keeping America safe

FBI raids home of San Bernardino shooter's friend over gun purchases

 (Gina Ferrazi / Los Angeles Times)

(Gina Ferrazi / Los Angeles Times)

FBI agents raided a Riverside home belonging to a friend of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook as they try to determine whether the man purchased two of the semiautomatic rifles used in the massacre, according to a law enforcement source.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous because the case is ongoing, said officials have been trying to talk to the man to see what he knows. It's far from clear whether the man had anything to do with the violence or even knew what Farook did with the guns, the source added. A second source said the guns were purchased three years ago.

The person the FBI is seeking to interview is Enrique Marquez Jr., a source said.

Farook, his parents and siblings lived on Tomlinson Avenue for several years before moving out a few months ago. Marquez lived next door.

While Farook generally kept to himself, one exception was his friendship with Marquez, who shared his love of tinkering with cars, neighbors said.

On Thursday, Gustavo Ramirez, who said he was Marquez's stepfather, told a Times reporter that he and his wife hadn't heard from Marquez since Wednesday afternoon and were concerned. Ramirez said it was unlike Marquez not to come home.

On Friday, someone had put up a sign in the family's yard that said: "Please keep off the property thank you."

The garage door appeared to have been broken, and a window was shattered.

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U.S. official: No reason to doubt Islamic State claim that massacre was carried out by supporters

 (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

U.S. intelligence analysts have no reason to doubt the authenticity of an Islamic State online broadcast claiming the San Bernardino rampage was carried out by supporters of the militant group, a federal official said.

In an English-language broadcast on the group's Bayan radio station, Islamic State on Saturday said "soldiers of the caliphate" had carried out the attack, the official said. In an Arabic announcement, the couple were called "supporters," the official said.

For the last several days, supporters of Islamic State on Twitter have praised the attacks that killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center, but there was no official statement claiming responsibility for the attack until Saturday.

The delay fits with investigators' current theory that the couple had no direct connection to Islamic State leaders before the attacks, the official said.

San Bernardino shootings show terror attacks in U.S. could be harder to stop, analysts say



In contrast with the Paris attacks, there is little sign so far that Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were part of a larger conspiracy organized by Islamic State or other militant groups abroad, or were part of a bigger cell in California.

That helped them avoid detection before Wednesday’s attack. Indeed, the absence of warning signs has become a hallmark of recent terrorist attacks, analysts said.

“The challenge the U.S. faces is that there are radical individuals who are being a lot more careful, and it makes them virtually impossible to detect,” said Seth Jones, a terrorism analyst with the Rand Corp., a Santa Monica-based think tank.

That is a change from the threat Americans faced after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when Al Qaeda and its supporters repeatedly sought to bomb airliners or other U.S. targets, using operatives who were trained and directed by militants abroad.

With Al Qaeda now overshadowed by Islamic State, the threat inside the United States increasingly comes from self-radicalized individuals. Their plots are less organized and possibly less deadly but paradoxically, harder to stop, analysts say.

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She was so modern. I do not know what had happened to her. She brought a bad name to our family.
Malik's paternal aunt, Hafza Batool, speaking to the BBC

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Tashfeen Malik: 'Modern girl' from Pakistan who became religious in college

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik ()

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik

Tashfeen Malik, the 29-year-old female shooter, was a onetime "modern girl" who became religious during college and then began posting extremist messages on Facebook after arriving in the U.S., a family member in Pakistan told the Los Angeles Times.

Malik's postings on Facebook were a source of concern for her family, according to the relative in Malik's hometown of Karor Lal Esan who asked not to be identified.

"After a couple of years in college, she started becoming religious. She started taking part in religious activities and also started asking women in the family and the locality to become good Muslims. She started taking part in religious activities of women in the area,” the family member told The Times.

"She used to talk to somebody in Arabic at night on the Internet. None of our family members in Pakistan know Arabic, so we do not know what she used to discuss," the family member said. The family speaks Urdu and a dialect of Punjabi known as Saraiki.

Malik's paternal aunt, Hafza Batool, told a local correspondent of the BBC that the family was in a state of shock. "She was so modern. I do not know what had happened to her. She brought a bad name to our family," Batool said.

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Remembering Sierra Clayborn

ierra Clayborn (Courtesy of Jacqueline Juarez)

Sierra Clayborn, left, and Jacqueline Juarez (Courtesy of Jacqueline Juarez)

We are asking readers to help us tell the story of the victims by sharing memories.

Jacqueline Juarez shared this memory of Sierra Clayborn, 27, of Moreno Valley:

"I met Sierra at UC Riverside. We were both in science majors and therefore took a lot of the same classes," she wrote.

"My favorite memory was the day we graduated. We had gone through the toughest 4 years of our lives together and we were elated to have finally reached our graduation day. Sierra and I had the biggest smiles on our faces throughout that day. We hugged, laughed, and took a graduation picture together."

I am grateful to have met this wonderful, kind, smart, beautiful woman. I will always remember her kind spirit."

Share your own remembrances

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Does blanket TV coverage change minds?

 (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

Has the proliferation of incidents and the relentless televised coverage had any affect on public opinion?

It certainly riles people up. The question is, does it push views in either direction, or does it entrench people more in their current views?"
John Donohue, a law professor at Stanford Law School

Analysts say the parade of violence has only served to harden feelings on both sides in the battle over the gun control issue. Gun control advocates say the shootings underline the need to get guns off the streets; gun rights advocates say they show the need for Americans to be armed to protect themselves.

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Street where firefight took place reopens

Obama speaks with French President Francois Hollande about attack

President Obama spoke with French President Francois Hollande by telephone on Saturday about the mass shooting in San Bernardino.

The White House said the call took place not long after climate negotiators met a deadline for a draft plan at the COP21 summit in Paris .

From the White House:

President Obama spoke today by phone with President Francois Hollande of France about the horrific shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. On behalf of the American people, the President accepted President Hollande’s condolences for the loss of life in the attack. The President briefed President Hollande on what we know about the attack and steps our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are taking to investigate. The two leaders pledged continued cooperation between our two governments and with those of our allies and friends to fight terrorism, both abroad and at home. President Obama and President Hollande also discussed progress being made at the COP21 climate conference in Paris and agreed to continue to stay in close touch as the conference continues.

Remembering Juan Espinoza

Juan Espinoza (Courtesy of Zhenia Ponce De Leon)

Juan Espinoza (Courtesy of Zhenia Ponce De Leon)

We are asking readers to help us tell the story of the victims by sharing memories.

Share your own remembrances>>

Juan Espinoza's niece asked that he not be viewed "as another victim on the list."

"Twenty-six years ago, my uncle came to the United States seeking the American dream, leaving behind his mother and 13 siblings."

Zhenia Ponce De Leon said her uncle held two jobs when his family was young.

"Tio Juan was a hardworking, loyal, honest and strict person but at the same time was a loving leader and advisor. He was someone who we could rely on and tell all our secrets with.

"At the beginning of Sandra and Juan's marriage, they both fought hard to attend school, make payments and take care of their newborn daughter, Jerusalen.

"He always mentioned that having an education is first priority and that an education is a treasure that nobody can take away from you."

The shooters, she said, "took away a piece of heart of everyone who surrounded him with love and respect."

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Obama gets briefing on attackers being radicalized

The White House on Saturday released this statement regarding President Obama's meetings with his top advisors about the investigation into the San Bernardino attacks.

The President this morning received an update from FBI Director [James] Comey, Attorney General [Loretta] Lynch, Secretary of Homeland Security [Jeh] Johnson, and his intelligence community leadership on the ongoing investigation into the horrific shootings in San Bernardino, California. The President was briefed on the latest details of the investigation. The President's team highlighted several pieces of information that point to the perpetrators being radicalized to violence to commit these heinous attacks. The President's team also affirmed that they had as of yet uncovered no indication the killers were part of an organized group or formed part of a broader terrorist cell. The FBI added that, in coordination with local authorities, they are utilizing all necessary resources to pursue any and all leads in their terrorism investigation. The President directed his team to take all measures necessary to continue to protect the American people, which remains his highest priority.

Remembering Aurora Godoy

We are asking readers to help us tell the story of the victims by sharing memories.

Share your own remembrances>>

Rhonds Neill, who worked with Godoy at the registrar of voters, said the young mother was "very kind and loved her family."


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Gov. Jerry Brown: 'We have to be on guard'

Speaking from the United Nations summit on climate change in Paris, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday that the attack was a "very clear indication that this is a global phenomenon, and that people who are committed to this jihadist doctrine are going to be killing people in very unexpected places. We have to be on guard, and we have to do whatever we can do."

Brown added that he would spend time making sure the federal-state collaboration was working and that the state's threat-assessment centers were adequately staffed and led to get the job done.

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A Christmas party with a trivia game — and then the shooting started

 (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The woman delivering the clickers came to their table. "Where's Syed?" someone asked.

His jacket still hung from the back of his chair. They told her to just leave the clicker there, he would be back.

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Islamic State praises San Bernardino shootings

 (AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

The Islamic State's official radio station has aired a statement saying the mass shooting in California was carried out by two "supporters" of the extremist group. While praising the attack, the group stopped short of claiming responsibility for it.

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The maps and numbers to help you understand what happened

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, entered the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino with guns, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others. After a car chase, both shooters were killed ...


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The lowdown on the FBI's terror probe

Those cellphones were actually crushed — we have retained those cellphones — and we do continue to exploit the data from those cellphones.
David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI office in Los Angeles

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Obama's weekly address focuses on San Bernardino

Excerpts from the address, in which President Obama expresses sorrow for the victims and calls on Congress to change certain gun regulations:

We stand with 14 families whose hearts are broken. We’re learning more about their loved ones — the men and women, the beautiful lives, that were lost.... Their deaths are an absolute tragedy, not just for San Bernardino, but for our country.
It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror.... And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us — government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders — need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.
People on the no-fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane. If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. And so I’m calling on Congress to close this loophole, now.

Muslim leaders' message at Friday prayers: Step up good works

 (Jae C. Hong / AP)

(Jae C. Hong / AP)

At the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, religious advisor Jihad Turk told about 700 people not to retreat from the larger society, as uncomfortable as they may feel ...

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