LOS ANGELES – One of the suspects in the deadly shooting rampage at a Southern California social service center grew up in a family riven by violence, with his mother accusing his father of being an abusive alcoholic, according to divorce records.
Syed Farook's mother, Rafia Sultana Farook, in 2006 alleged that her husband, also named Syed, attacked her while her children were present, dropped a TV on her and pushed her toward a car, according to the records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
She filed a no-contact, stay-away domestic violence protection petition on July 3, 2006. Rafia Farook said she was forced to move out of her home with three of her children because her husband continually harassed her "verbally and physically and refused to leave the home," according to the divorce records.
The AP couldn't immediately reach the father for comment. No one answered at Farook's brother's home, where a neighbor said the father lived.
The details about the younger Farook's childhood emerged as authorities tried to determine what could have motivated him and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, to, as police say, open fire at the center in San Bernardino, killing 14 people and injured more than a dozen others.
Authorities would not rule out a possible link to terrorism, a possibility fueled in part by the weapons cache the suspects had amassed. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said the couple had more than 1,600 bullets with them when they were killed, and that the shooters had more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition at their home, 12 pipe bombs and tools that could be used to make improvised explosive devices.
"There was obviously a mission here. We know that," said David Bowdich of the FBI. "We do not know why. We don't know if this was the intended target or if there was something that triggered him to do this immediately."
Syed Farook was born at Cook County Hospital in Chicago on June 14, 1987, to parents born in Pakistan. He was raised in Southern California.
A man by the same name and birthdate graduated from California State University, San Bernardino, with a bachelor's degree in environmental health sciences in 2010, the university said.
Farook later took a job as an environmental inspector at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, a job that took him Wednesday to the Inland Regional Center, where the department held a holiday banquet when the attack occurred, according to Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Farook, a U.S. citizen, had traveled to Saudi Arabia, returned to the U.S. in July 2014 — with Malik, and a beard. Officials said the wife had arrived on a K-1 visa — a fiancee visa — and Pakistani passport. The couple had a six-month-old daughter, who they left with relatives before heading to the center.
Dane Adams, of Corona, said Syed Farook's father, who moved in with his son, Syed's brother, two-doors down a few months ago, was the talkative one, often visiting as Adams worked on classic cars in the garage, telling him about his family and that he was divorced.
The father also said he and his son who lived with him were from the Middle East, Adam said.
He said he often saw the man walking with his toddling grandchild who Adams guessed was about a year old. "That baby's got the cutest smile in the world," he said.
Mohr reported from Jackson, Mississippi, Gillian Flaccus from Anaheim, Garance Burke from San Francisco and Jason Keyser from Chicago.