A heavily armed man and woman dressed for battle opened fire on a holiday banquet for his co-workers, killing 14 people and seriously wounding more than a dozen others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, they died in a shootout with police.
The Dec. 2, 2015 shooting happened at a social services center for the disabled where the suspect's colleagues with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health were renting space for a celebration. It was the nation's deadliest mass shooting since the attack at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, three years ago that left 26 children and adults dead.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan identified one dead suspect as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, the other as Tashfeen Malik, 27, his wife or fiancee. Burguan said Farook was born in the United States; the chief said he did not know Malik's background.
The attackers invaded the Inland Regional Center about 60 miles east of Los Angeles around 11 a.m., opening fire in a conference area where county health officials were having an employee banquet, said Marybeth Feild, president and CEO of the nonprofit center.
"They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission," Burguan said.
Farook attended the event before leaving — and returning to kill.
Co-worker Patrick Baccari said he was sitting at the same table as Farook, who suddenly disappeared, leaving his coat on his chair. Baccari said when the shooting started, he sought refuge in a bathroom and suffered minor wounds from shrapnel slicing through the wall.
Baccari described Farook as reserved and said he showed no signs of unusual behavior. Earlier this year he traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a wife, later growing a beard, Baccari said.
Farook was a restaurant inspector for the health department, according to public records. Police chief Burguan said he had been a county employee for five years.
The couple dropped off their 6-month-old daughter with relatives on the morning of Dec. 2., saying they had a doctor's appointment, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said after talking with family.
About four hours after the morning carnage, police hunting for the killers riddled a black SUV with gunfire in a shootout 2 miles from the social services center in this Southern California city of 214,000 people. Farook and Malik were found with assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns, and were wearing "assault-style clothing" with ammunition attached, authorities said. (AP)