A mass shooting by a couple that left 14 people dead in California is being investigated as an act of terrorism, the FBI has said.
FBI Director James Comey said there were indications that the couple had been radicalised. Tashfeen Malik, 27, and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, died in a shootout with police after the killings at San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles.
Mr Comey said they were “potentially inspired” by foreign terror groups. However, he said there was no evidence they were part of a network.
Mr Comey said the investigation was in its early stages and that there was still “a lot of evidence that doesn’t make sense”.
Earlier, an FBI spokesman said they were also investigating reports that Malik had pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS). She is reported to have posted a message on Facebook in support of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi under a different name. The post has since been removed.
After Wednesday’s attack at the Inland Regional Center social services agency, bomb equipment, weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found in the couple’s home.
Malik was born in Pakistan and had recently lived in Saudi Arabia.Intelligence officials in Pakistan have contacted relatives there, a family member quoted by Reuters said.
Farook, who worked as an inspector for the city’s environmental health department, was the son of Pakistani immigrants and born in the US state of Illinois.
Police said between 75 and 80 people were attending a party at the centre when the shooting began. The identities of the victims have since been released by San Bernardino’s coroner.
In the shootout with police hours after the attack, Farook and Malik fired 76 rounds of ammunition. Officers fired 380 rounds back. Two police officers were injured during the pursuit.
San Bernardino is the deadliest mass shooting in the US since 26 people were killed at a school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.
Yasir Qadhi casts doubt on the events
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have condemned the mass killings and they have asked that people not implicate Islam or Muslims in them.
CAIR have said the massacre may have been work-related or due to mental illness or extreme ideology.
However, there has been much criticism of the media being allowed to film seemingly unhindered in the couple’s flat. And prominent US Muslim scholar Yasir Qadhi has cast doubt on the official version of events.
In a Facebook post to his 680,000 fans, he said: “So apparently Tashfeen Malik, the lady implicated in the shootings, was a frail 90 pound lady with absolutely no shooting experience. Born and raised in Jeddah, she would have had a very, very sheltered life, and it is almost impossible to imagine such military tactics coming from her, especially as she is the mother of her first-born child, a 7-month old infant.
“Additionally, the couple’s bodies were found handcuffed, lying face down in the truck, shot-up. Syed Farook’s family is absolutely shocked as well, and could not see him doing something like this. His own sister came out on television and said she couldn’t imagine her brother acting in this manner. (She did go on to say that if he did, the family is very angry and hurt, which is understandable).
“Seriously, I am not at all into conspiracy theories, but this case just doesn’t make ANY sense whatsoever. I hope the community is extra persistent in demanding to VERIFY any evidence presented. Sadly, we have seen explicit evidence of some corrupt authorities manipulating the truth (e.g., case of Chicago police shootings recently).
“If indeed the couple is guilty, I have no sympathy for them. But at this stage, presented with what we know, I can’t help feel something is seriously wrong with the picture being presented, and that we are being asked to believe something that really doesn’t add up.”