The suspects in the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting on Dec. 2 may have been radicalized and the attack a terrorist act.
The FBI is investigating whether U.S.-born Muslim Syed Farook, 28, and his 27-year-old Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, who together killed 14 people and injured 21 others in the mass shooting at Inland Regional Center, were linked to a terrorist group or whether it was a workplace dispute.
“We do not yet know the motive; we cannot rule anything out at this point,” assistant FBI director of the Los Angeles Office David Bowdich, told The New York Times. “We don’t know if this was the intended target or there was something that triggered him to do this immediately.”
The couple is suspected of being linked to terrorism based on the extensive arsenal in their home, their recent Middle East travels, and evidence that one of them had recently been in touch with people who hold Islamist extremist views, both in the U.S. and abroad.
There were thousands of rounds of ammunition and a dozen homemade pipe bombs in the couple’s home, authorities say, making it possible they were planning further attacks and this was not a last-minute decision.
“There appears to be a degree of planning that goes into this,” Chief Jarrod Burguan of the San Bernardino police said. “Nobody goes to a party and puts together such an elaborate scheme.”
Neither Farook or Malik were being watched by the FBI or on a list of potentially radicalized people, CNN reports.
Farook had been in contact by phone and on social media with more than one person being investigated for terrorism, according to law enforcement officials.
The communications are considered “soft connections” because they were not frequent, and it had been months since the last contact took place.
It is also suspected that Malik may have radicalized her husband after they met in Saudi Arabia in 2013.
President Barack Obama hinted that the attack may have been terrorist related.
"At this stage, we do not yet know why the terrible event occurred," Obama said, Yahoo News reports. "It is possible that this was terrorist related, but we don't know. It's also possible that this was workplace-related."
An acquaintance of Farook said he did not appear to have extremist views and was living "the American Dream" with his wife and daughter.
"He was married, he had a daughter and last year he made $77,000," Gasser Shehata, 42, who attended the same mosque as Farook, said. "He had everything to be happy."
The attack was the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, including 20 children.