Home / Community / South Asian-origin couple were “living the American dream” before California gun rampage.

South Asian-origin couple were “living the American dream” before California gun rampage.

SyedfarookThe woman involved in the massacre of 14 people at a community centre in the California town of San Bernadino on Wednesday is believed to be of Pakistani origin.

Tafsheen Malik, 27, was born and raised in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia before moving to the United States to join US-born husband Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) confirmed on Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, Malik and Farook dropped off their six-month baby with Farook’s mother on the pretext of going to a doctor’s appointment.

Later, the couple donned military fatigues, armed themselves with several assault rifles and handguns as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition and a dozen pipe bombs before heading to a Christmas party at the Inland Regional Centre in San Bernadino where they massacred 14 people and left 17 others injured.

The couple were later killed following a gunfight with police.

According to law enforcement officials, Farook had met his wife while on the hajj in Saudi Arabia and is thought to have been radicalized.

The FBI has today revealed that Farook met Malik, got engaged and in July 2014 brought her over to the US.  Some reports suggest that Farook had also later travelled to Pakistan, although this has not been officially confirmed.

Farook worked as an environmental health specialist for San Bernardino County inspecting restaurants for health violations.  His office was located inside the Inland Regional Centre.

Colleagues say he and his family appeared to be “living the American dream”.

On Wednesday, he attended the annual holiday gathering for employees of his department, but then left, returning later with weaponry and Malik.

San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters that the shooting spree had clearly been planned in advance and that the suspects left several of the pipe bombs at the scene of the massacre.

Sanbernadino (1)

SueAnn Chapman, a cashier and waitress at China Doll Fast Food, a restaurant that Syed Farook inspected earlier this year for his job with the county, said he didn’t seem unusual when he turned up.

“He was real quiet,” Chapman said. “He checked the food and said he was here because somebody complained. He looked completely normal.”

Farook and Malik were married for two years and have a six-month-old baby girl, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of CAIR, told Reuters.

Farook’s family too is thought to originally hail from South Asia – either Pakistan or Bangladesh.  His older brother had served in the US military.

Public records suggest possible turbulence in Farook’s younger life.

In 2006, his mother Rafia Farook filed in a Riverside court for divorce from her husband, also named Syed Farook.

She noted multiple instances of domestic abuse in the legal filing, and said her husband “threatens to kill himself on a daily basis.”

During one incident, she said in a court filing, her son came between them “to save me.”



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