San Bernardino, California, massacre suspects could have terror links

Do Not Know Motive: LA FBI Director
Do Not Know Motive: LA FBI Director

Grim details emerged Thursday about a massacre at a California holiday party that left 14 people dead and 21 more hurt, but investigators are still trying to answer the key question: Why?

The couple who unleashed the bloodbath Wednesday fired as many as 75 rounds at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, and tried to slaughter more with a rigged pipe bomb that never detonated, authorities said Thursday.

American-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, were killed in a shootout with police more than four hours after the initial rampage. The couple -- clad in black tactical gear but no bulletproof vests -- fired another 76 rifle rounds during a pursuit with police, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters.

See more from the scene of the shooting:

Authorities said they are still trying to determine why Farook and his wife attacked the social services center.

"We do not know the motive ... it would be irresponsible of me and be way too early to speculate on motive," said David Bowdich, the assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.

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"There was obviously a mission here," Bowdich said. "We do not know why. We do not know if this was the intended target or something triggered him."

Authorities told NBC News on Thursday that Farook appeared to have been radicalized. They said he had been in touch with people in the Los Angeles area who have expressed jihadist-oriented views.

Intelligence sources told NBC News that Farook appeared to have been in some form of communication with overseas individuals who are persons of interest to American authorities.

Farook and Malik had two assault rifles and two semi-automatic handguns that were legally purchased and registered, Burguan said.

In total, the pair had over 1,400 .223 caliber rounds available to them and over 200 9mm rounds on them during the gunbattle. The three pipe bombs were stitched together on a remote control car found at the scene, he added.

See more from the aftermath of the attack:

A subsequent search of a home connected with the couple turned up 12 pipe bomb-type devices and a cache of weapons ammunition, Burguan said. Those include 2,000 9mm rounds, 2,500 .233 caliber rounds and several hundred .22 Long rifle rounds.

Farook had attended the Christmas party on Wednesday morning, but left about 15 to 30 minutes before the shooting began. Police said they received information by someone who was concerned about his behavior at the event.

Investigators say they know little about Malik or "where she is from."

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Federal officials told NBC News that Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia two years ago. Authorities believe, based on the timing, that the trip was for the hajj, the pilgrimage that devout Muslims are required to do at one point in their lives. The officials believe Farook met Malik there, and then brought her back to the U.S.

The couple left their 6-month-old daughter with her grandmother before the onslaught.

Farhan Khan told NBC News that his brother-in-law Farook and wife left their baby girl with Farook's mother on Wednesday, claiming they they had a doctor's appointment. The grandparents first became worried when they got a call from the media at around 2 p.m. asking if they knew Farook was a suspect in the shooting, according to Khan, who is married to Farook's sister.

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Malik was a naturalized Pakistani-American citizen who arrived in the U.S. on a K-1 or fiancee visa. She achieved American citizenship by virtue of her marriage to Farook two years ago.

"I just cannot express how sad I am for what happened today," Khan said at a news conference held by the Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, on Wednesday night. "I am in shock that something like this could happen."

Khan said he had spoke to Farook a week ago, adding: "Why would he do something like this?" He added that Farook and Malik had been married for about two years.

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A profile under the user name "farooksyed49" on dating website iMilap.com featured a picture of Farook that Khan confirmed was his brother-in-law. It stated that the user was Muslim American and born in Chicago, Illinois.

"Farooksyed49" described himself as a Muslim American citizen looking for marriage who lives in "California/riverside" -- a community about 11 miles south of San Bernardino. His age on the site is listed as 22. IMilap.com describes itself as a "Site for People with Disabilities and Second Marriage."

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The user said he was from a "religious but modern family" and listed "Eastern and Western Mix" under family values.

"Enjoy working on vintage and modern cars, read religious books, enjoy eating out sometimes travel and just hang out in back yard doing target practice with younger sister and friends," according to the profile.

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NBC News could not immediately confirm whether the dating profile belonged to the suspect.

San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis told TODAY's Matt Lauer of his "shock" at the events.

"The priority has been public safety. Our police department responded as effectively and safely as they could," he said. "We need to stay on a high level of alert but at the same time we can't be paralyzed by these instances."

Salihin Kondoker, whose wife was shot during the rampage, told TODAY that his son first learned of her involvement when a friend saw television pictures of her being treated at a local hospital.

Kondoker said she was recovering from gun wounds to her right arm.

"She's doing remarkably well," he said. "She said bullets were flying all over the place. She corralled herself into the bathroom but realized her hands were bleeding."

He added: "Any killing of a human being should be an act of terrorism. I think we need to control our gun law in this country. No matter what, any killing of any human being is an act of terrorism."

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