President Barack Obama said federal investigators have yet to determine the motives of two suspected shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday, but he signaled it could have been driven by dual motives.
Less than 24 hours after Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, opened fire before being killed by police, Obama told reporters the shooting might be terrorism. But he also raised the possibility the incident could be connected, in part, to a workplace dispute.
Obama said flatly that “we don’t know” yet why the U.S.-born Farook and Saudi Arabia-born Malik decided to open fire on Farook’s co-workers during a holiday event. Obama said the investigation, now being led by the FBI, could take some time.
Obama said his administration will avoid making “any decisive judgments about how this occurred” until a slew of unanswered questions are answered. Notably, he mentioned investigators will be looking into the couple’s electronic footprint.
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That could be a nod toward looking for communications with terrorist organizations or recruiters.
Obama was more somber than resolute when he promised federal and local officials “will get to the bottom of this.”
He also reiterated his calls for stricter gun control laws, though similar pleas after past shootings have been rebuffed by congressional Republicans and some Democrats who staunchly defend the Second Amendment and are backed by the gun lobby.
Obama said it is “just too easy” for people who wish to carry out mass shootings to obtain firearms, adding he believes the time has come for America to “search ourselves as a society to take basic steps to make it harder — not impossible — for individuals to get access to weapons.”
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