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Workplace Violence or Terrorism? CA Massacre Probe Unfolds


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A day after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, authorities are trying to figure out why a couple would embark on a deadly killing spree.

Was it workplace violence or Islamic-inspired terrorism or both that left 14 people dead and more than a dozen injured?

Late Wednesday night, police announced that 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik were the two lone assailants in the mass shooting.

The husband and wife team were clearly ready for a battle with police. An ATF spokesman said the couple was wearing military tactical-style clothing loaded with ammunition for a gunfight.

So far, the FBI has not ruled out terrorism as a motive in these tragic shootings. CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck shares his perspective. Click play to watch.

"We are pretty comfortable that the two shooters that we believe went into the building are the two shooters that are deceased up on San Bernardino Avenue," San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.

Farook, an American citizen, had been a San Bernardino County employee for five years. His father told the Daily News that "he was very religious."

"He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He's a Muslim," Farook's father said.

On Wednesday morning, Farook and his wife reportedly dropped off their 6-month-old daughter with grandparents. Farook then went to a Christmas party for employees of the Public Health Department at the Inland Regional Center.

"He did leave the party early under some circumstances that were described as angry or something of that nature," Burguan said.

Around 11 a.m. local time, Farook returned to the celebrations with his wife Malik dressed in matching assault-style military fatigues and body armor and started shooting.

"Based upon what we have seen, and based upon how they were equipped, there had to be some degree of planning that went into this," Burguan speculated.

"So I don't think they just ran home, put on these types of tactical clothes, grabbed guns and came back on a spur-of-the-moment thing," he said.

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Police Chief Burguan said the attack lasted "only minutes." But in that short period of time, the couple managed to kill 14 people and injured 17 others.

Fox News says authorities found multiple pipe bombs and other explosive devices at various locations, including three devices at the scene of the attack.

The couple was later killed by police in a shoot-out several hours after the incident.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Farook reportedly took a trip to Saudi Arabia and returned with his new wife that he apparently met online.

Speaking to reporters late Wednesday night, Farook's brother-in-law Farhan Khan expressed his grief over the tragedy.

"I just cannot express how sad I am for what happened today. I mean, my condolences to the people that lost their lives," he said.

Wednesday's attack was the deadliest mass shooting since Sandy Hook. President Barack Obama and some Democratic leaders immediately called for stricter gun controls.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News ran with the controversial title "God Isn't Fixing This" on their front page.

The story criticized Republican presidential candidates for "preaching about prayer" while being silent about gun control. The paper's front page quickly became a hot item on Twitter. California already has strict gun control laws.

Meanwhile, the search for a motive continues.

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About The Author

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Born in Dar es salaam, Tanzania, and of Indian descent, CBN News’ senior international correspondent and co-anchor, George Thomas, has been traveling the globe for more than 20 years finding the stories of people, conflicts and issues that must be told. He has reported from more than 100 countries, and has had a front row seat to numerous global events of our day. His stories of faith, struggle and hope combine the expertise of a seasoned journalist with inspiration of a deep calling to tell the stories of the people behind the news. “I’ve always liked discovering & exploring new places,” says