SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — The couple, who carried out the San Bernardino terror attack, had been radicalized and taken target practice before killing 14 people and wounding 21 others, the FBI said Monday.
David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said “we have learned and believe that both subjects were radicalized and had been for quite some time. The question we’re trying to get at is how did that happen and by whom and where did that happen.”
He said the 19 pipes, found in the couple’s Redlands home, could have been turned into bombs with all the right components.
The FBI confirmed that Syed Farook’s long-time friend, Enrique Marquez, legally purchased and supplied him with the two Smith & Wesson 556 assault rifles that were used in the massacre.
“Right now, our major concern, the FBI, ATF and the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force), is determining how those firearms, the rifles in particular, got from Marquez to Farook and Malik,” said John D’Angelo, assistant special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
After the massacre, Marquez checked himself into a mental hospital. Sources told CBS news he is cooperating with the FBI but is not under arrest.
Farook bought three guns, including two pistols, that he and his wife used in the shooting, D’Angelo said. Authorities said Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, both took target practice.
Farook and Malik in Chicago on July 27, 2014
(credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
An instructor said surveillance video and records confirmed Farook practiced at Riverside Magnum Range with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, just two days before the terror attack on Dec. 2.
“I am still really in shock. There was no signs of anything,” firearms instructor Mike McGee said.
“It’s devastating to people to know that this is where he might have prepared for those last days,” firearms instructor John Galleta said.
He said at one point, Farook asked a range representative to check his rifle because it was smoking and the person told him that was probably because it was new.
Galletta said other than that, Farook’s behavior was nothing out of the ordinary. “You can’t tell who comes to the range. He presented what appeared to be a valid ID. Came in and acted the way he normally does or the way normal people act. Just come in and used the range.”
Farook did not have private lessons at the shooting range, and his wife had never been there, according to Galleta who spoke to CBS2/KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz.
The FBI served a search warrant and seized security video from the gun range, which reported that business is up 60 percent, driven by people who are concerned for their safety in the wake of the terror attack.
Chaz Harrington was one of Farook’s coworkers. “If I asked him about his wife, he was very secretive about his wife. He didn’t want to reveal much about his wife,” he said.
Harrington recalled Farook talked about wanting to leave America for good. “Syed didn’t want to be in the United States because he told me him paying taxes was helping the United States support basically the war on Islam. The war on Muslims.”
Farook’s father who is still in the San Bernadino area told CBS news his son was deeply religious.
In a chilling twist, authorities also revealed that a year ago, Farook’s coworkers at the county health department underwent “active shooter” training in the same conference room where he and his wife opened fire on them last week.
But It was not clear if Farook attended the 2014 session on what to do when a gunman invades the work place, San Bernardino County spokeswoman Felisa Cardona said.
Speaking outside of the San Bernardino Police Department headquarters, Bowdich also provided an official response to the media frenzy at a Redlands home believed to be the couple’s primary residence.
According to Bowdich, once the FBI’s investigation was completed, authorities had secured the premises with “screws and wood”, and that anything that subsequently occurred at the location “absolutely nothing to do with” the bureau.
So far, federal agents have conducted more than 400 interviews and are still trying to determine a motive.
The FBI is trying to figure out whether Farook and Malik were inspired by the Islamic State group.