Report: San Bernardino attack suspects shot up to 27 times
The report released by the San Bernardino County DA's office includes the accounts of nearly two dozen officers and details how officers identified the suspects
By Michael Balsamo
LOS ANGELES — Authorities released a report Thursday detailing the manhunt and shootout with a husband and wife who killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in the San Bernardino attack in December 2015.
The report released by the San Bernardino County district attorney's office includes the accounts of nearly two dozen law enforcement officers and details how officers identified Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who carried out the attack with high-powered rifles at a health department training event and holiday party in December 2015, and the gunfight that ensued after officers tried to stop the fleeing couple.
Key things to know from the report:
HOW POLICE FOUND THE ATTACKERS
As officers began arriving at the Inland Regional Center, where the shooting occurred, several victims told the officers that Farook, their co-worker at the county health department, had been at the party but left about a half-hour before the shooting.
One of the assailants, they said, had the same stature and body shape but his face was covered by a mask.
Investigators then learned Farook had rented a black SUV, which matched the description of the assailant's car and tracked his cellphone to his home in Redlands. Officers began pursuing the car, but as they tried to pull it over, the couple shot at officers through the back window, the report said.
THE SHOOTOUT WITH FAROOK
Officers pulled behind the SUV as it came to a stop on a residential street and the gunbattle persisted. Farook got out of the vehicle and fired from a Smith & Wesson M&P MP-15 semi-automatic rifle slung around his body, according to the report.
A San Bernardino police sergeant recalled grabbing a rifle from his son — a fellow officer — and pointing it straight at Farook and shot at him five or six times.
"One of the rounds passed through Farook causing a mist of blood on impact," the report said. "Farook fell to the ground but was still moving."
Farook clutched his rifle as he lay on the ground, the sergeant said. The sergeant fired twice more at him.
An autopsy found Farook was shot 27 times.
THE SHOOTOUT WITH MALIK
After her husband was killed, Malik kept firing at officers from inside the SUV, officers said. They could see a silhouette through the shattered back window and saw Malik ducking down behind a seat for cover as she fired.
Officers said it seemed she had been "blindly firing towards the officers rather than taking aim."
Malik, who was 5-foot-3 (1.6-meter) and weighed 121 pounds (55 kilograms), had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung around her body as she popped up and down, each time firing in spurts. She took cover behind a seat in the vehicle as the officers shot back at her, the report said.
Malik, dressed in all black, was wearing a load-bearing vest with several spare rifle and pistol magazines, along with an airsoft neck protector and black safety glasses. She also had nine loaded 30-round rifle magazines, a loaded 10-round rifle magazine and seven eight-round pistol magazines, authorities said.
An autopsy found Malik had been shot at least 15 times.
ITEMS FOUND IN THE CAR
Inside the SUV, police also found a black backpack with 14 rifle and pistol magazines, a military-style ammunition container with 870 rifle cartridges that were loaded into 10-round clips, along with three rifle sighting systems and several bags filled with hundreds of ammunition cartridges.
The suspects fired about 80 rounds from rifles and one bullet from a handgun, the report said. Officers shot 440 rounds from rifles, shotguns and handguns. Several nearby homes and cars were struck by bullets, but no civilians were hit during the shootout.