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UPDATE: San Bernardino, California, massacre suspects could have terror links

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UPDATE: (NBC) Grim details emerged Thursday about the massacre at a California holiday party that left 14 people dead and 21 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.

Chicago-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, were killed in a shootout with police more than four hours and a few miles away from 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. Officers returned about 380 rounds.

Authorities said they are still trying to determine why Farook and his wife attacked the Inland Regional 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.

"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."

But 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 carried over 1,400 .223 caliber rounds and another 200 9-mm rounds on them during the gunbattle. The three pipe bombs found at the social services center were stitched together on a remote control car, but for whatever reason, didn't explode, he added.

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 9-mm rounds, 2,500 .233 caliber rounds and several hundred .22 Long rifle rounds.

Police also confirmed the couple had rented a black Ford Expedition three or four days before the carnage that was supposed to be returned Wednesday. The car was used as their getaway.

Farook, a county health inspector, initially attended the office Christmas banquet on Wednesday morning, but left about 15 to 30 minutes before the shooting began around 11 a.m. local time (2 p.m. ET). 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."

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 had a child together in May, and left their 6-month-old daughter with her grandmother before the onslaught.

Farhan Khan told NBC News that his brother-in-law, Farook, and his wife left their baby girl with Farook's mother, 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.

Malik was a naturalized Pakistani-American citizen who arrived in the U.S. on a K-1, or fiancée 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 spoken with Farook a week ago, adding: "Why would he do something like this?"

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.

"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."

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.

NBC News could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the dating profile.

San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis spoke of his "shock" at the events on TODAY.

"The priority has been public safety. Our police department responded as effectively and safely as they could," he said Thursday morning. "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 images 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 that Wednesday's assault should be categorized as terrorism.

"Any killing of a human being should be an act of terrorism," Kondoker said. "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."



Federal authorities say that the two assault rifles and two handguns used in the San Bernardino massacre were all purchased legally in the United States - two of them by someone who's now under investigation.

Meredith Davis of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives says investigators are now working to make a connection to the last legal purchaser.

She says all four guns were bought four years ago but she's not saying whether they were purchased out of state or how and when they got into the hands of the two shooters.

Davis says California requires paperwork when guns change hands privately but many other states don't.

She also says the rifles involved were .223-caliber - powerful enough to pierce the standard protective vest worn by police officers, and some types of ammo can even plow through walls.

UPDATE: (8:25 p.m.): Sources say one suspect in the shooting has been ID'd as Syed Farook; Another is believed to be Farook's brother.

UPDATE (7:43 p.m.) : Authorities say two suspects, one man and one woman, were killed following the mass shooting.  They say they were armed with assault rifles and handguns, dressed in "assault-style" clothing.

UPDATE: (NBC) At least 14 people were killed and one or more suspects were in custody Wednesday when up to three gunmen on a "mission" barged into a holiday party in a California conference room and unleashed a bloodbath, law enforcement sources told NBC News.

The gunman or gunmen fled in a black SUV after the shooting about at 11 a.m. (2 p.m. ET), police said.

About 4½ hours later, multiple police cars were involved in a high-speed chase nearby with three people in a dark truck or SUV, law enforcement sources told NBC News. Two of the suspects were shot, the sources said — one was killed and the other was wounded in the chest.

At least one of the suspects was in custody Wednesday afternoon, the sources said.

In addition to the 14 dead:

  • At least 10 of 17 wounded are in critical condition.
  • Police arrested at least one suspect after shootout hours later.
  • The shooting erupted during a holiday party in a conference room.
  • Federal agencies are assisting the investigation.

San Bernardino police Sgt. Vicki Cervantes confirmed that shots were exchanged in a confrontation with officers. She said that one officer was shot but didn't suffer a life-threatening wound and that one suspect possibly remained at large.

Seventeen other people were wounded when the shooting started inside the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, about 55 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, police said.

Authorities said 10 of the 17 injured were taken to hospitals in critical condition. Fire Chief Tom Hannemann said three people were in serious condition.

It appeared to be the worst mass shooting since the December 2012 slaughter of 20 first-graders and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"These people came prepared to do what they did as if they were on a mission," San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said. "They were armed with long guns, not with handguns."

Burguan added, "The suspects have fled."

David Bowdich, the FBI's assistant director in Los Angeles, stressed that "we don't know if this is a terrorist incident."

Neither Burguan nor Bowdich would confirm reports that at least one of the suspects was believed to be wearing tactical gear.

But Luis Gutierrez said that he spoke to his wife, who works in the facility, and that she told him that a gunman she saw was dressed all in the black, wearing a flak jacket of some kind and a mask on his face. He said the people on her floor began barricading their doors after hearing the shots.

While law enforcement briefed reporters inside the state facility, firefighters set up a triage area outside the complex on South Waterman Avenue, where they were treating the wounded on the street and loading others into waiting ambulances for treatment at nearby Loma Linda Medical Center.

Some were transported in the backs of pickup trucks.

Meanwhile, all San Bernardino city buildings, the courthouse and all the San Bernardino County buildings were placed on lockdown.

President Barack Obama was briefed by Lisa Monaco, his homeland security adviser, and asked to be updated as the situation develops, a White House official said.

"Absolutely heartbreaking," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, tweeted.

Marybeth Feild, president of the center's board of trustees, said the gunfire erupted in a conference room where the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health was holding a banquet.

Outside, the normally tranquil suburban streets were jammed with police vehicles and first responders.

Dozens of SWAT team officers massed outside the facility, while police evacuated the occupants who filed out with their hands up.

Police also cleared out nearby buildings and marched the occupants out of harm's way to a nearby golf course.

In addition to the FBI, agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene, officials said. So was the police bomb squad.

"There were some things that were in the building that were not immediately identifiable that caused us concerns," Burguan said.

A man who identified himself only as Jim, a sales person at the nearby Structural Material Company, told NBC News that the neighborhood was an armed camp.

"There's plenty of police activity," Jim said. "A lady ran into our bathroom and said somebody was shooting there."

Jim said police told him and the staff — about 10 to 12 people — to stay inside the building, which is about 200 to 300 yards from the Regional Center, a state-run center for people with developmental disabilities.

The mayhem came just days after a gunman barged into a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people during a five hour siege.

Democrat Hillary Clinton was the first of the presidential candidates to weigh in on the unfolding tragedy.

"I refuse to accept this as normal," she tweeted. "We must take action to stop gun violence now."

She was followed by Democratic rivals Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders and Republican candidates Donald Trump. Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee.

"California shooting looks very bad," Trump tweeted. "Good luck to law enforcement and God bless. This is when our police are so appreciated!"

UPDATE: Police say up to 14 dead, up to 14 injured in San Bernardino, CA shooting. 
Police in San Bernardino, California, are responding to reports of an active shooter at a social services facility. 
Lt. Rich Lawhead said Wednesday there are reports of multiple victims.
No arrests have been made.
Sgt. Vicky Cervantes says police are working to secure the scene in the inland region east of Los Angeles.
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