Obama: 'We Don't Know' If San Bernardino Attack Was Terrorism


While Republican presidential candidates were quick to label the Dec. 2 San Bernardino, California, shootings terrorism, President Barack Obama took a more cautious approach, telling reporters that authorities still don't know what motivated the attackers.

Fourteen people were killed and at least 21 were injured in the shooting, which took place at a holiday party for San Bernardino County health department employees, CNN reported. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, fired as many as 75 rounds at partygoers, then expended at least that much ammunition in a shootout with police.

"We don't know, at this point, the extent of their plans. We do not know their motivations," Obama said on Dec. 3, after a security briefing with FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and others, CBS reports.

Farook was employed at the county health department, and Obama said investigators were sorting out what appeared to be "mixed motivates," according to CNN.

"It is possible that this was terrorist related, but we don't know. It's also possible this was workplace-related," Obama said.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidates seized the opportunity to criticize the president, and new reports linked the shooters to known terrorist figures.

Neither Farook nor Malik was on any watch list, and they hadn't had previous run-ins with the law, but law enforcement officials told CNN that Farook had been communicating by phone and online with suspects the FBI had flagged for investigation.

Neither Farook nor Malik is around to shed light on their motivations; after the shootings at the holiday party, the couple led police on a chase, and both were killed by police gunfire, CBS reported.

Farook was at the holiday party earlier and left "under circumstances that were described as angry," San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said, according to CNN.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, speaking at a campaign event in Texas, said he was "deeply concerned that this is yet another manifestation of terrorism," CBS reports.

"Radical Islamic terrorism here at home," Cruz said. "In wake of the terrorist attack in Paris, this horrific murder underscores that we are at a time of war."

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who is also seeking the Republican presidential nomination, rejected new calls for gun control and also blamed Islamic terrorism.

"If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and sounds like a duck, maybe it’s a duck,” Fiorina said on Fox News.

Sources: CNN, CBS, Fox News / Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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