The gunman was in ‘touch with known Islamic extremists on social media’.
California gunman Syed Rizwan Farook had been in contact with known Islamic extremists on social media, a US intelligence source has said. And Farook and his wife had enough bullets and bombs to slaughter hundreds when they launched their deadly attack on a party at a social services centre for the disabled, police said.The details emerged as investigators tried to determine whether Wednesday's rampage that killed 14 people was terrorism, a workplace grudge or a combination of factors.
The husband-and-wife killers were not under FBI scrutiny before the massacre, a US official said.Wearing black tactical gear and wielding assault rifles, Farook, 28, a restaurant inspector, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, sprayed as many as 75 rounds into a room at the centre in San Bernadino, where about 75 of Farook's co-workers had gathered. Farook had attended the event but slipped out and returned in battle dress.
Four hours later and two miles away, the couple died in a furious gun battle in which they fired 76 rounds, while 23 law enforcement officers unleashed about 380, police said.
Police chief Jarrod Burguan offered a grim inventory today that suggested the bloodbath could have been far worse.
At the centre, the couple left three pipe bombs with a remote-control detonating device that apparently malfunctioned and had more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition remaining when police killed them in their rented SUV, Mr Burguan said.
At a family home in the nearby town of Redlands, they had 12 pipe bombs, tools for making more, and more than 3,000 additional rounds of ammunition.
"We don't know if this was workplace rage or something larger or a combination of both," US attorney general Loretta Lynch said in Washington. "We don't know the motivation."
Investigators are trying to determine whether Farook, who was Muslim, became radicalised and, if so, how, as well as whether he was in contact with any foreign terrorist organisation, the intelligence source said.
The official said Farook had been in touch on social media with extremists who were being watched by the FBI.
Another official said the FBI was treating the attack as a potential act of terror but had reached no conclusion. The official said Farook's contact was with "people who weren't significant players on our radar", dated back some time, and had no immediate indication of a recent surge in communication.
The San Bernadino massacre was America's deadliest mass shooting since 2012, when 26 children and adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In San Bernardino, a Southern California city of 214,000, the victims' ages ranged from 26 to 60. A further 21 people were injured, including two police officers. Two of the wounded remain in a critical condition.
Nearly all the dead and wounded were local authority employees.