President Barack Obama said authorities do not yet know the motivations of the suspects who opened fire on a holiday party in San Bernardino on Wednesday, saying that it is possible that it was an act of terrorism or workplace violence.
“We do not know the extent of their plans, and we do not know their motivations,” Obama said Thursday from the Oval Office.
He indicated it may be some time before the motivations are known, and that there “may be mixed motivates involved in this.”
Authorities identified the suspects who opened fire at the San Bernardino social services center, killing 14 people and injuring 17 others, as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27.
Farook worked as an environmental inspector for San Bernardino County, and had been attending a holiday party at the center, authorities said. Farook left after a dispute and later returned with Malik, his wife, armed with assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns, and wearing masks and body armor. They were later killed in a shootout with police.
Obama did cite the suspects access to guns.
“We can’t just leave it to our professionals to deal with the problem of these kinds of horrible killings,” Obama said. “We all have a part to play.”
He called for legislators to look to measures to address access to guns, because “right now it is just too easy.” He said that in addition to the guns that the shooters were carrying, they “appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes.”