California mass shooting: Terror angle emerges

RSTV Bureau
San Bernardino : A victim is wheeled away on a stretcher following a shooting that killed multiple people at a social services facility, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in San Bernardino, California. PTI Photo

San Bernardino : A victim is wheeled away on a stretcher following a shooting that killed multiple people at a social services facility, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in San Bernardino, California. PTI Photo

A terror angle has emerged into the California shooting, in which 2 attackers killed 14 people and left 21 others wounded on Thursday.

According to US officials, the Pakistani-origin couple who open fired at a holiday party, were said to be in touch with extremists.

The gunman Syed Rizwan Farook (28) and his wife, Tashfeen Malik (27), may have been radicalized as he was in touch with extremists, officials said on Friday as an arms haul from their home indicated they were planning another attack.

During a search of their apartment, the police found an armoury of weapons and explosives including a dozen pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

The gunman Syed Rizwan Farook was of Pakistani-origin, and his wife Tasfeen was is a Pakistani national.

The FBI has taken charge of the probe and is treating the incident as a potential terrorist act. Authorities are combing through evidence, including cell phones and a computer hard drive of the assailants to determine what prompted them to carry out the mass shooting at San Bernardino in California. They fired as many as 150 bullets inside the Inland Regional Center and then engaged in the shootout with the police.

Both the assailants had legally bought their two handguns but their assault-style rifles were purchased by someone who is now under investigation, said San Bernardino City Police Chief Jarrod Burguan.

“Certainly they were equipped and they could have continued to do another attack…We intercepted them,” Burguan told reporters.

“If you look at the amount of obvious pre-planning that went in, the amount of armaments (they) had, the weapons and the ammunition, there was obviously a mission here. We know that. We do not know why,” said David Bowdich, Assistant Director in-charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.

“We don’t know if this was the intended target or if there was something that triggered him to do this immediately. We just don’t know,” he said.

The California shooting came just 5 days after the shooting incident at a family planning centre in Colorado that killed 3 people.

The incident has again brought to the fore the debate on the gun control laws in the US.

“We’re going to have to I think search ourselves as a society to make sure that we take some basic steps that make it harder – not impossible – but harder for individuals to get access to weapons,” US President Barack Obama said on Thursday, again calling for better background checks and new restrictions on access to guns in the US.

“The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” Obama had said after the shooting.

(With inputs from agencies)