National Security

FBI has 18-minute gap in San Bernardino shooters’ timeline

San Bernardino, mass shooting, Tashfeen Malik, Syed Farook, Farooq

The FBI has an 18-minute gap in the timeline of the two people who gunned down 14 victims in San Bernardino, Calif., last month, which could shed new light on the killers’ actions.

At a news conference on Tuesday, the assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office said that the missing period comes after the deadly massacre, when killers Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were driving through the city. 

{mosads}“That 18 minutes is critical,” David Bowdich said.

“It’s important because we want to ensure whether or not they stopped at other locations, any residences, any businesses that we don’t already know about,” he said. “We want to ensure that if they made contact with anyone that we don’t already know about between those hours, or between that time, that we’re able to fully investigate those matters.”

Aside from the missing minutes, the FBI has been able to compile a relatively detailed timeline of Farook and Malik’s movements, Bowdich said, based on a combination of traffic cameras, surveillance videos and witness accounts.

After carrying out the deadly attack around 11 a.m. on Dec. 3, the two did a “lot of zigzagging around” the streets, Bowdich explained, going “back and forth on the highway, going up, going down.”

“There is no rhyme or reason to it that we can find yet.”

At two points in the drive, they briefly stopped at a parking lot and small lake.

But from 12:59 p.m. to 1:17 p.m., the killers’ vehicle drops off the map completely, raising the possibility that they stopped at a hiding spot or met with an unknown accomplice.   

“It’s possible that they stopped at — whether it be a storage area, a residence, a business, it’s possible there was a contact made. We just don’t know,” Bowdich said.

“It very well may not be an important gap but until we close that gap we just don’t know for sure.”

Around 3 p.m., law enforcement officials spotted the killers’ vehicle and eventually killed the two in a shootout.

The December killing, which officials believe was inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was the deadliest act of terror on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. The assault captured national attention and prompted new focus in Washington on gun control, additional visa requirements and other efforts to block extremists from entering the country.

Farook and Malik were not directly under orders from ISIS, officials maintain, but instead appear to have been adherents of a similar brand of extremist ideology.

“As of today, we do not see any indications of a foreign-directed terrorist attack,” Bowdich reiterated on Tuesday.

Two weeks after the killing, the federal government filed charges against Enrique Marquez, Farook’s former neighbor, with whom he had alleged planned a separate terrorist attack on a local college and busy highway in 2012.  Those alleged plots were eventually scuttled before they could be carried out, the Justice Department claimed.

Tags David Bowdich San Bernardino shooting Syed Rizwan Farook Tashfeen Malik

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