As the San Bernardino attack was happening, investigators believe the female shooter, Tashfeen Malik, posted on Facebook, pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told CNN.
The posting was by Malik made on an account with a different name, according to one U.S. official.
The officials did not explain how they knew Malik made the post.
Syed Rizwan Farook’s family says they have no idea why he and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, would storm into a holiday luncheon for his co-workers and callously open fire, killing 14 people before dying in a shootout with police, family lawyers said.
They also had no idea that Farook had a makeshift bomb lab in the apartment he shared with his wife, 6-month-old daughter and mother. No idea that he’d apparently become radicalized, as law enforcement officials have said.
In Farook’s home, police found thousands of rounds of ammunition, 12 pipe bombs and hundreds of tools to make more explosives.
“It just doesn’t make sense for these two to be able to act like some kind of Bonnie and Clyde or something,” Farook family attorney David S. Chesley told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “It’s just ridiculous. It doesn’t add up.”
Farook occasionally went alone to shooting ranges, and he bought significant amounts of ammunition. But Chesley and fellow family lawyer Mohammad Abuershaid insisted those aren’t red flags, nor are Farook’s trips to Saudi Arabia — first in 2013 for the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are required to take at least once in their lifetime, then again to marry Malik, whom he’d met through an online dating service.
Members of a family who Abuershaid said “were living the American dream” have met voluntarily for hours with investigators. Yet, according to their lawyers, they have not managed to make sense of what happened.
Farook and Malik “kept to themselves,” Abuershaid said. But the interactions they did have didn’t hint at any significant changes in their thinking or demeanor, any turn to Islamist extremism, or any sign they were plotting a mass killing, the lawyer said.
“There was nothing to show that (Malik) was extreme at all,” Abuershaid said. “(And Farook) was a normal guy, in every sense of the word.”
It’s not that the family denies the couple carried out this massacre. They are shocked by it. And they’re also “very remorseful and they’re very sad.”
The shooters left no manifesto, the hard drive from their computer is gone, and two relatively new cell phones were found smashed in a garbage can near one of the crime scenes, law enforcement officials said.
“Really, everyone is clueless,” Chesley told CNN, “because there’s nothing that would characterize them to act in this manner.”
Given the complete arsenal, police wondered if Farook and Malik were planning to kill many more and whether the luncheon was their original target. They say what they’ve found shows there was clear premeditation and planning.