FBI and police continue their investigation around the area where two suspects were shot by police following a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The couple accused of killing 14 people at a holiday party in Southern California had more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition and a dozen pipe bombs on them and elsewhere, authorities said on Thursday as they sought to determine if the pair had links to Islamic militant groups.
Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, who was described as his wife and mother of his 6-month-old daughter, were killed in a shootout with police five hours after Wednesday's massacre at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in the city of San Bernardino. Twenty-one people were wounded in the shooting.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at a Thursday news conference that a search of a townhouse in nearby Redlands believed used by Farook and Malik yielded flash drives, computers and cellphones.
Officials in Washington familiar with the investigation said so far there was no hard evidence of a direct connection between the shooters and any militant group abroad but that the electronics would be checked to see if the couple had been browsing on jihadist websites or social media.
CNN, citing law enforcement sources, said Farook had been "radicalized" and had been in touch through telephone and social media with more than one international terrorism suspect who was being investigated by the FBI.
Farook, a U.S. citizen, was born in Illinois, the son of Pakistani immigrants, according to Hussam Ayloush, who heads the Los Angeles area chapter of the Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Malik had been granted a "fiancee visa" to come to the United States with Farook and that all applicants for the visa are fully screened.
Witnesses said Farook had been at the holiday party, left - possibly after a dispute with someone - returned with Malik and opened fire. Burguan said they sprayed the room with 65 to 70 rounds.
Officials from President Barack Obama to Burguan said the attack may have been an act of terrorism but a motive had not yet been determined.
"It is possible that this was terrorist-related. But we don't know," Obama told reporters. "It is also possible that this was workplace-related."
He said the FBI was taking over the investigation.
David Bowdich, the FBI assistant director in Los Angeles, said the couple had entered the United States in July 2014 after a trip that included Pakistan and perhaps other countries. Farook did not have a criminal record, Burguan said.