The home of the husband-and-wife who killed 14 in San Bernardino has been thrown open to the media – revealing scores of family trinkets and toys that would have sat among boxes of ammunition and pipe bombs as they planned their attack, which the FBI says it is now investigating as ‘an act of terror.’
Tashfeen Malik, who is now pictured in a photo first obtained by ABC News, and Syed Rizwan Farook’s home is also filled with family photographs, Korans and other books on Islam but appears to have the appearance of a normal suburban family residence.
The kitchen had pots on the stove, dirty dishes in the sink and a half-eaten pita sandwich. The living room table had several documents, including one that authorities left behind listing what they had seized. Walls were covered with decorative rugs with Arabic script.
One bedroom had a crib next to boxes of diapers and a desk with a photo identification of Farook.
A mattress lay on the floor of another bedroom, covered with documents and Arabic books. The closet had clothes hanging and family photos on the top shelf, with a hole in the ceiling.
The couple’s landlord invited members of the media to tour their rental home in Redlands, California, this morning – just as it has emerged that Malik had posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, just minutes into a deadly attack on a holiday party Wednesday.
Among the photos found in the two-story town house are a series of young women and a California State University identity card belonging to Farook.
Journalists were let into the home after FBI investigators had collected all the evidence they needed and turned the apartment back over to its owner.
Federal agents have been combing through cellphones and a computer hard drive left behind by the couple to try to establish a motive for the killings.
But a clearer link to ISIS is developing as unnamed officials say Malik used a Facebook alias to pledge allegiance to the terror group in a post that was later deleted. This information provides the strongest evidence to date that the rampage may have been a terrorist attack.
Authorities said the husband and wife who carried out the attack fired 75 rounds and they had more than 1,600 bullets with them when they were killed and well over 4,500 rounds of ammunition at their home.
Investigators haven’t explained how they acquired the bullets and they also said that it appears one of the weapons was modified in an attempt to make it fully automatic.
Another official speaking on condition of anonymity said Malik expressed ‘admiration’ for al-Baghdadi and said there was no sign that anyone affiliated with ISIS communicated back to her and no signs of any operational instructions being passed on to her.
A Facebook executive later confirmed that Malik posted the material under an alias account at 11am Wednesday.
That was about the time the first 911 calls came and when the couple were believed to have stormed into the San Bernardino social service center and opened fire.
The company discovered the Facebook page on Thursday.
It removed the profile from public view and reported its contents to law enforcement.
In the wake of these latest developments, an ISIS-affiliated news agency Aamaq claimed that Farook and Malik were ‘supporters’ of the terror group, but it stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack in San Bernardino.
During a press conference held shortly before noon local time, David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said the shooters attempted to destroy evidence, including crushing two cell phones and discarding them in a trash can.
Federal agents, who have now officially taken over the probe into what Bowdich labeled ‘an act of terror,’ are still hoping to extract data from the destroyed electronic devices.
The FBI chief also had established that there were ‘telephonic connections’ between the couple and other people of interest in FBI probes.
FBI Director James Comey also offered an update on the two-day-old investigation, saying there is no indication the husband-and-wife duo were part of a terror cell or a broader network operating in the US.
But Comey noted there’s still ‘a lot evidence that doesn’t quite make sense.’
The stunning disclosure about the pledge of loyalty to the extremist group was preceded by news that investigators were looking into whether Malik, 27, was responsible for radicalizing her husband of two years, 28-year-old Syed Farook.
According to Fox News, it is believed that on at least one of Farook’s two trips to Saudi Arabia in 2013 and 2014, one or both of the spouses reached out to suspected members of al Qaeda.
Christian Nwadike, a co-worker of Farook’s at the San Bernardino County health department, told CBS This Morning that the mild-mannered man was different upon his return from Saudi Arabia last year.
When asked if he believed Farook may have been radicalized, Nwadike replied: ‘Yes, by the wife.
‘I think he married a terrorist.’
At this stage in the investigation, officials say it appears the couple were inspired by ISIS, rather than expressly ordered to carry out the attacks.
Some investigators believe Malik and Faroook were self-radicalized, but it is also possible that someone may have motivated them.
Malik moved to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan about 25 years ago but returned home to study to become a pharmacist, according to two Pakistani officials.
She had two brothers and two sisters and was related to Ahmed Ali Aulak, a former provincial minister.
Malik was from the Layyah district in southern Punjab province, the officials said.
She returned to Pakistan five or six years ago to complete a degree from Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan.
An online transcript from Bahauddin Zakariya University uncovered by Daily Mail Online on Friday shows Malik scored 74.88 out of 100 on one of her pharmacy exams.
One of Malik’s uncles, Javed Rabbani, said Malik’s father, Gulzar, changed while the family was living in Saudi Arabia.
‘When relatives visited him, they would come back and tell us how conservative and hard-line he had become,’ Rabbani said in an interview with Reuters.
Read more: Daily Mail