The FBI will now officially investigate Wednesday’s massacre in California as “an act of terrorism.”
David Bowdich, from the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said during a Friday news conference with reporters that killers Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, made “telephonic connections” with suspects in other investigations.
Farook and Malik went on a rampage at a the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. Their attack at the social-services center killed 14 and wounded 21.
Bowdich told reporters the FBI was “looking very carefully” into whether or not the couple was being directed by a larger Islamic terror network, CNBC reported.
FBI officials said it was definitely possible the two could have pulled off another attack before they were confronted by police and killed in a shootout on Wednesday.
Weapons at the terrorists’ disposal included:
- Two AR-15 rifles, pistols.
- Approximately 2,000 9 mm rounds and 2,500 .223 rifle rounds were found in Farook’s Redlands home.
- At least 75 rounds were expended during the couple’s attack on the Inland Regional Center.
- Police Chief Jarrod Burguan confirmed hundreds of tools for building “IEDs or pipe bombs” inside Farook’s home.
- Multiple pipe bombs and explosive devices (rigged to a remote-controlled toy car) were left at the site of the massacre.
- “Rollout bags” with multiple pipe bombs inside Farook’s rented black Ford Expedition.
“This is now a federal terrorism investigation, led by the FBI,” said Director James Comey, speaking to reporters at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Friday. He was joined by Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “The reason for that,” Comey said, “is that the investigation so far has developed indications of radicalization by the killers and of the potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations.”
Comey cautioned that it is early in the investigation, “but so far, there is no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group.” He added that hundreds of FBI personnel are following leads all over the world. “We are trying to understand the motives of these killers and trying to understand every detail of their lives.”
Watch the announcement from Comey:
Farook had no criminal record and was not under surveillance by federal law enforcement prior to his terror attack. He and his wife were in possession of 1,600 bullets when they were killed less than three miles from the Inland Regional Center, which serves people with disabilities.
“We are spending a tremendous amount of time as you might imagine over the last 48 hours trying to understand the motives of these killers,” said Comey. “We know this is very unsettling for the people of the United States. We hope that you won’t let fear become disabling. Please channel that sense of fear into something healthy, just an awareness of your surroundings, and let us do the work that you pay us to do, which is to investigate and fight terrorism while you live the lives that are so wonderful in this great country of ours.”
Wednesday’s terror was the deadliest on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001, when 2,977 victims died in attacks perpetrated by al-Qaida.
Three civilians were killed and 264 others injured in the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing perpetrated by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
“We have worked very, very hard since 9/11 to get ourselves to a place where if you tell a police officer or a deputy sheriff or call the FBI and say, ‘You know, I saw something next door that seems off,’ or, ‘I saw something online that seems off,’ it will get to the right people. And we will investigate it quickly and responsibly,” added Comey.