White House

Obama: San Bernardino shooting may involve terrorism

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pauses Thursday in the Oval Office while making a statement on Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pauses Thursday in the Oval Office while making a statement on Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. AP

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the FBI has taken over the investigation into the shooting in San Bernardino, California, which he said may involve terrorism.

“It was possible this was terrorist related but we don’t know,” Obama told reporters gathered in the Oval Office.

Police say Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, killed 14 people and seriously wounded more than a dozen others in an attack Wednesday at a social service center for the disabled. Both were gunned down in an SUV a few miles away in a shootout with police.

Obama said law enforcement does not yet know what motivated the shooters, and that there could be multiple motives, including workplace violence. “We don’t know why they did it,” he said.

“What I can assure the American people is we're going to get to the bottom of this and that we are going to be vigilant, as we always are, in getting the facts before we issue any decisive judgments in terms of how this occurred,” he said. Vice President Joe Biden was seated next to him and top members of his national security team were in the room.

Obama ended his brief remarks by saying that all Americans, including legislators, needed to figure out how to make it more difficult for some to get access to weapons.

“We’re going to have to I think search ourselves as a society to make sure that we take some basic steps that make it harder -- not impossible -- but harder for individuals to get access to weapons,” he said.

“We see the prevalence of these kinds of mass shootings in this country and I think so many Americans sometimes feel as if there's nothing we can do about it,” he said.

Obama said he spoke with the mayor of San Bernardino and thanked him for law enforcement’s “timely and professional response.”

“We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who were killed and pray for a speedy recovery for those who were injured during this terrible attack,” he said.

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