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San Bernardino shooters tried to illegally modify rifle before rampage

The husband and wife responsible for killing 14 people in a shooting in San Bernardino this week tried to illegally modify a semi-automatic rifle to turn it into a machine gun, federal authorities said Friday.

A Smith & Wesson M&P15 found with the couple after a gun battle with police Wednesday was altered in an attempt to enable the weapon to be fired automatically, said Meredith Davis, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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The modification is illegal under federal law, she said. Initial tests, she said, show that the modification did not work and the gun could not be fired automatically, Davis said. She said more tests were yet to be done.

A DPMS Model A-15 rifle also found with the couple after the shootout had been altered to accept a high-capacity magazine that is illegal under California law, she said.

The two weapons were purchased by someone other than the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, Davis said. 

Federal agents have located the person who bought the rifles and plan to conduct an interview, Davis said. She declined to identify the person.

Authorities found two handguns -- a Llama 9 mm and a Springfield Armory 9 mm -- with the couple. They had more than 1,400 .223-caliber rounds and more than 200 9 mm rounds with them.

At the pair's home in Redlands, investigators recovered a .22-caliber rifle, Davis said.

For more Southern California crime news, follow @lacrimes

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