Syed Farook and his partner Tashfeen Malik were both shot dead by police officers following a car chase through the streets of San Bernardino. They are now both labeled as terrorists as officials claimed that the female shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS leader. Farook's family and neighbors, however, are just baffled that he could commit such a crime when he was a "religious" and "happy" man.
On Wednesday, Farook and Malik, aged 28 and 27 respectively, stormed Inland Regional Center and started shooting people randomly. The attack left 14 people dead and 17 severely injured. Farook and Malik are said to be in a relationship, and even possibly married. Both of them were killed by the police as they fled in an SUV. A third person was also detained in relation to the attack, even though it is still unclear whether or not he participated in the attack.
According to police Chief Jarrod Burguan, the shooters seemed to have planned the attack. Witnesses also claimed that they entered the center "as if on a mission."
Even though FBI official David Bowdich said that it is still too early to say this is an act of terrorism, many are now labeling the two as terrorists because of they are Muslim, as reported by the Independent.
For the family and friends of Farook however, the gunman was just an ordinary person who they would never in a million years imagine carry out such a crime.
Speaking with Daily News, Farook's father, shared that the gunman is an American citizen who was employed by the San Bernardino County Department of Health for the past several years. He is a father of a young girl. The elderly could not be more shocked with what his son did. He added that he was not able to notice anything about his son that would serve as a telltale sign that something is wrong. "I haven't heard anything," the grieving father said. "He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He's Muslim." The father added that his son graduated from La Sierra High School in Riverside in 2003.
Farook's brother-in-law was equally dumbfounded, claiming that he is still in shock over what happened. He said he has no idea why Farook would even carry out something like this.
Neighbors also said they could not fathom why Farook turned out to be a mass shooter. One of the neighbors, Andrea Larsen shared that Farook seemed happy with his wife, mother, and a small child. "They sounded really happy. I did notice there were lots of packages being dropped off, and he was in the garage working on stuff. But that seemed normal to me. It's Christmas and people are getting packages dropped off," she said.
Andrea added that the idea of those packages being ammunition scares her now. "If I think about it like that, absolutely, it's terrifying. I have hope in the world and hope in people, and it's hard when that hope is challenged in such a terrifying way," she said.