Father of San Bernardino shooter says son supported ISIS, newspaper reports

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The father of Syed Rizwan Farook told an Italian newspaper that his son, one of two shooters in last week’s San Bernardino massacre, supported ISIS ideology and was “fixated on Israel.”

Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire at Farook’s co-workers at a holiday party for the environmental health department before being gunned down hours later in a shootout with authorities.

When asked by reporter for the La Stampa newspaper whether his son had ever talked about ISIS, Farook’s father said that he had.

“Who does not talk about it these days? He said he shared the ideology of al-Baghdadi to create an Islamic State, and he was fixated on Israel,” the elder Farook said, referring to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He recalled a time he saw his son — who he described as studious, hardworking and obedient — with a gun.

“I became angry. In 45 years in the United States, I yelled: ‘I have never had a weapon.’ He shrugged his shoulders and replied: ‘Your loss,’ ” the father said.

“I cannot forgive myself. Maybe if I had been at home, I would have found out and stopped him,” he told the Italian newspaper.

The news was reported Sunday, one day after ISIS hailed Farook and Malik as “supporters” of the terror group and two days after the FBI said it was treating the attack as an act of terrorism.

On Friday, three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told CNN that Malik posted to Facebook a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.

The couple’s motivation for the attack is a key focus for investigators.

But ISIS’ acknowledgment of Malik and Farook as supporters doesn’t mean they were members or that someone from the group ordered it, said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Francona, a CNN military analyst and a former intelligence officer.

ISIS, when claiming responsibility for other terrorist attacks, would call attackers “knights” or “soldiers” rather than supporters. It has, however, urged sympathizers to carry out attacks on their own.

“What they’re calling these two are supporters, which is kind of a lesser level,” indicating it might not have had direct contact with the couple, said Francona.

A church grieves

Among the 14 victims of last week’s shooting was 27-year-old Yvette Velasco, a regular at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Rialto, California.

The Rev. Rogelio Gonzalez spoke Sunday about the church’s loss.

“This week, we have been witness on how evil can touch anyone, anywhere, any given moment,” he said. “There’s questions. How can something like this take place? How can I reconcile my faith with what’s happening?”

Velasco leaves behind her parents and three sisters.

“Yvette was an intelligent, motivated, and beautiful young woman, who was full of life and loved by all who knew her,” her family has said in a statement.

The President to speak

In a bid to address the growing anxiety about ISIS, President Barack Obama plans to talk to the nation Sunday night.

He will pledge the use of every available tool to keep American people safe and destroy the terror group, a senior administration official said.

The gravity of the occasion is underscored by Obama’s decision to use the symbolic power of the Oval Office for only the third time in his presidency, following addresses on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the end of the Iraq war in 2010.

His address is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET.

CNN’s Mesrop Najarian, Dan Simon, Vasco Cotovio, Stephen Collinson, Sophia Saifi, Adeel Raja, Schams Elwazer and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.

By Dana Ford

Trademark and Copyright 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News