UPDATED: The FBI is now investigating the San Bernardino mass shooting as “act of terrorism.”
The official, assistant director David Bowdich, announced the shift in a press conference on Friday.
The female culprit of the attacks, Tashfeen Malik, who, with her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, went on a shooting rampage that left 14 people dead and 21 others wounded on Wednesday, was linked on Friday to ISIS after evidence was found that she pledged allegiance to the organization in a Facebook post. The couple was killed in a shootout with police following the attack at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center — the nation’s deadliest mass shooting in three years.
The post has since been removed, according to the New York Times. Malik reportedly posted the message on an account under a different name. Malik and Farook deleted their digital footprint a day before executing the deadly attacks.
The ongoing investigation has not yielded any evidence that the Islamic State directed the attack.
“At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting,” a federal law enforcement official told the New York Times.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said during the Friday press conference that the police department took a report from a security guard at a Regal Cinemas early on Tuesday morning, before the shootings, about a man who was asking questions about movies and showtimes. The man was described as being of Middle Eastern descent. The guard also reported seeing the occupant of another vehicle taking photos “in and around the theater.”
“The security guard thought that was odd,” Burguan said.
Burguan said that the report was circulated throughout the county.
“At this point we have zero evidence of information that connects that to what happened here at the Inland Valley Regional Center,” he said.
The FBI shifted its examinations into terrorist recruitment tactics this year as the Islamic State has been targeting homegrown extremists in the U.S. to perform violence acts in the States instead of persuading them to travel to Syria to join ISIS, the New York Times reports.
The bureau uncovered evidence yesterday that Farook had contact with individuals already being investigated for possible terrorist activities.
Malik, 27, who was born in Pakistan, recently lived in Saudi Arabia. Farook, 28, is of Pakistani descent and was born in Illinois. He visited Saudi Arabia in July 2014 and brought Malik to the U.S. to wed after meeting online.