President Barack Obama will visit San Bernardino Friday to meet with the families of victims of the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center that killed 14 people, including a Los Angeles man and a Santa Ana woman, the White House announced Wednesday.
Specifics of the president’s trip were not announced. The San Bernardino stop was added to a previously scheduled trip to Hawaii, where Obama and his family plan to spend Christmas.
The shooting, which is being investigated by the FBI as an act of terrorism, occurred around 11 a.m. Dec. 2, leaving 14 people dead and 22 others injured. After an extensive manhunt, the shooters — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed in a gun battle with police about seven hours after the shooting.
Authorities said Farook dropped off the couple’s 6-month-old daughter with his mother prior to the morning shooting, saying he and his wife had a doctor’s appointment. The couple had been married for about two years.
FBI Director James Comey said the couple had been “radicalized” long before the shooting, even prior to being married. Farook brought Malik to the United States in 2014. She entered the country on a fiance visa.
Comey said today that despite earlier reports to the contrary, neither Farook nor Malik made any public social-media postings about jihad or martyrdom. Instead, Comey said, the couple communicated with each other through direct, private messages.
Comey also said there was no indication that Malik and Farook had any direct contact with terrorist groups or were part of a terror cell. He said investigators are beginning to pull data from the couple’s phones and other electronic devices, and that effort is continuing. It’s still unclear why they chose to attack the Inland Regional Center, a treatment facility for people with developmental disabilities.
Farook was an employee of the San Bernardino County Public Health Department and he had attended a department holiday party at the IRC the morning of the shooting, but left and returned with his wife and began gunning down party goers.
Killed in the shooting were: Shannon Johnson, 45, of Los Angeles, 45; Tin Nguyen, 31, of Santa Ana; Sierra Clayborn, 27, of Moreno Valley; Yvette Velasco, 27, of Fontana; Aurora Godoy, 26, of San Jacinto; Damian Meins, 58, of Riverside; Robert Adams, 40, of Yucaipa; Isaac Amanios, 60, of Fontana; Bennetta Bet-Badal, 46, of Rialto; Harry Bowman, 46, of Upland; Juan Espinoza, 50, of Highland; Larry Kaufman, 42, of Rialto; Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, of Colton; and Michael Wetzel, 37, of Lake Arrowhead.
—City News Service
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