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Obama Admits Terror 'Possible' in California Shooting

Obama Admits Terror 'Possible' in California Shooting

Thursday, 03 December 2015 12:01 PM

A mass shooting in California on Wednesday was possibly a terrorist attack, though law enforcement authorities have not yet identified a motive, President Barack Obama said a day after the rampage in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead.

San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan identified the suspects as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27. Both fled the scene of the shooting, a social services center, and were later killed by police in a daytime gun battle in a nearby residential neighborhood.

"At this stage we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office. "It is possible that this was terrorist-related but we don’t know. It is also possible that this was workplace-related."

Farook had been employed by San Bernardino County for five years, most recently as an environmental specialist, and had worked with some of the victims, who were attending a holiday party at the center.

Law enforcement authorities have not ruled out terrorism as a possible motive. Farook and Malik used rapid-fire rifles and were dressed in "assault-style clothing," Burguan said.

Farhan Khan, Farook’s brother-in-law, told reporters he didn’t know what may have driven the couple to attack, at a news conference after the shooting organized by the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.

"I am shocked myself," he said.

No Plots

The San Bernardino shooting "is now an FBI investigation," Obama said. He said he had spoken with the city’s mayor, Carey Davis.

In a statement from the White House the day before Thanksgiving, Obama said U.S. law enforcement officials had received no credible reports of "a plot on the homeland" like the Nov. 13 attack in Paris that killed 130 people. Islamic State claimed credit for that assault.

The president’s comments Thursday were the second time he’s had to address a mass shooting in the past week. During a news conference Tuesday in Paris, Obama said he hoped a Nov. 27 shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic that left at least three dead and nine wounded would spur "conversation and action" on gun control.

"We devote enormous resources -- and properly so -- to rooting out networks and debilitating organizations like ISIL, and maintaining the intelligence and improving the information- sharing that can identify those who would try to kill innocent people," he said in Paris. "And yet, in the United States, we have the power to do more to prevent what is just a regular process of gun homicides."

In July, a gunman named Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed four Marines and a Navy petty officer at a Chattanooga, Tenn. recruiting facility. That incident was the last time Obama addressed a mass shooting from the Oval Office.


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President Barack Obama said Thursday the motivation for a deadly shooting in California was not yet known, but a terror attack could not yet be ruled out, calling it 'possible.'Obama ordered flags on government buildings, embassies and military installations to be flown at...
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Thursday, 03 December 2015 12:01 PM
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