Early Wednesday morning, Syed Rizwan Farook asked his mother for the sort of favor grandmothers love to grant: A few hours of baby-sitting. Farook told her that he and his wife, Tashfeen, had a doctor’s appointment and didn’t want to take their 6-month-old daughter.
In an account of the conversation provided by a relative through a local Islamic leader, the grandmother agreed. She was caring for the child at the couple’s Redlands home when news of a mass shooting in nearby San Bernardino broke.
Fearing her son and daughter-in-law were victims, “she started calling. No answer,” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles office. It was only after reporters started phoning her that she realized the couple were the assailants.
That Farook’s own mother had apparently sensed nothing wrong underscored a feeling among investigators and acquaintances Thursday that the couple responsible for the massacre at a holiday party inside the Inland Regional Center scrupulously concealed their views, plans and a cache of weapons and explosives.
Of particular interest to investigators is the relationship between Farook, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, a Pakistani national. While his upbringing and adult life in Riverside is chronicled in school files, work documents and other records, little is known publicly about her.