Authorities are now treating the recent shootings in San Bernardino, California as terrorism. The massacre that left 14 dead and over 20 wounded was carried out by two married assailants that have been shown to have links to terror organizations. The suspects, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, are thought to have been motivated by Islamic extremist ideologies.
Farook was an American born citizen with family roots in Pakistan. He was 28 years old and had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Islamic Hajj. He returned with his new found wife Malik, 29 years old, whom he had previously met on an online Muslim dating site. Malik was born in Pakistan and married Farook while they were in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. They both returned to the U.S. legally and did not alert any security authorities. They had a 6 month old baby girl.
Authorities say Farook had communicated online and by phone in the past with individuals on watch lists and known terrorism supporters. This communication was described as light, but details are not fully available. Farook was known to take his religion very seriously and enjoyed studying the holy scriptures.
Although no terror organizations claimed responsibility for the attack, officials have uncovered that Malik posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS on Facebook right before the attack occurred at the Inland Regional Center where Farook was an employee. Days after the attack, ISIS has released statements of support for the two suspects in the attack.
A few days before the attacks occurred, Farook reportedly was involved in discussions and arguments about religion with a co-worker named Nicholas Thalasinos. Thalasinos was killed in the attack along with 13 other co-workers. Farook was angry with Thalasinos, a messianic Jew, and allegedly made statements like “Islam will rule the world”. Farook also made threats to Thalasinos who frequently discussed politics and religion and was very critical of ISIS.