(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — The family of the suspected shooters in Wednesday’s deadly rampage in San Bernardino, California, said they had no idea that the couple were aggressive or had extreme religious views, the family’s attorneys said Friday.
The family of Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who were killed by police in a shootout after their deadly attack, “were totally shocked” by the couple’s actions, Farook family attorney David Chesley said at a news conference.
“None of the family members had any idea that this was going to take place,” said Chesley, adding that when the family got word of the shooting, they were worried about the couple’s health and safety.
Farook was isolated and introverted, with very few friends, Chesley said.
But he also said there’s been no “clear smoking gun evidence” that Farook and Malik were a part of any particular terror cell or group.
Malik, 29, who is from Pakistan but had lived in Saudi Arabia, came to the U.S. last summer on a “fiancé” visa and later obtained a Green Card, U.S. officials have said. Malik married Farook, an American of Pakistani descent, in August 2014 and the couple had a baby daughter six months ago.
Malik met her husband on a marriage website, and when she came to the U.S., she lived as a “soft-spoken” housewife, the attorneys revealed Friday. Malik spoke broken English and chose not to drive, said family attorney Mohammad Abuershaid.
When Farook’s family would visit the couple’s home, the men would sit with men and the women would sit with women, Abuershaid said of the traditional custom, adding that Farook’s brothers never saw Malik’s face because she wore a burqa.
Farook’s family knew that Farook kept locked, licensed handguns in his home, said the attorneys.
Farook’s mother lived with the couple, the attorneys said, explaining that, when the shooters left the house Wednesday morning, they told her they were going to the doctor because he had the stomach flu.
It’s believed the couple’s 6-month-old baby, is with Child Protective Services, the attorneys said, adding that they hope the child can be placed with one of the family members.
The attorneys are communicating with the FBI as the investigation continues, Abuershaid said.
The shooting took place at a gathering of San Bernardino County employees. Farook, 28, had worked for the county for five years in the health department and had attended the meeting before disappearing, authorities said. Witnesses and authorities say he and Malik returned half an hour later with two assault-style weapons, two handguns and “tactical” clothing along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, killing 14 and injuring another 21.
Police have not yet identified a motive.
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