San Bernardino suspect liked vintage cars, religious books and target practice

San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Farook (28) came from a "religious but modern family", profiles on online matrimonial sites   said. He and Tashfeen Malik (27) were killed by police in a shootout on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Farook (28) came from a "religious but modern family", profiles on online matrimonial sites said. He and Tashfeen Malik (27) were killed by police in a shootout on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Written by Malachy Browne

Online profiles for one of the deceased suspects in the horrific San Bernardino shooting describe a man who liked vintage cars, eating out, occasional travel, reading religious books and hanging out doing “target practice” with his younger sister.

The descriptions of Syed Farook, 28, match those given by police and were posted to two websites offering matrimonial services some years ago. He is described as an Urdu-speaking man, born in Chicago to a “religious but modern” Sunni Muslim family of four children. He had two sisters and one brother. The profiles say he held a Bachelors degree and worked with local government; this matches records retrieved by the Daily Caller from California State University and health inspections he undertook for San Bernardino’s Department of Public Health. Farook was killed Wednesday in a shootout with police with his wife and fellow suspect, Tashfeen Malik, 27 (eyewitness video is below). 

One of Farook’s profile is posted to Dubai Matrimonial, a marriage service provider based in the United Arab Emirates. A second profile is posted to, a “premier matrimonial and dating site … for people with disabilities and second marriage.” The site appears to be targeted to citizens of India and Pakistan, where Farook’s wife is believed to have lived before moving to Saudi Arabia. Former co-workers of Farook’s told the LA Times he recently travelled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a wife he met online. And in updated information, law enforcement officers confirmed in a press conference Thursday morning that Farook travelled to Pakistan during an overseas trip in 2014. He returned to the US in July 2014; investigators are checking where else he traveled.

Huge cache of ammunition [Updated info]

Farook and Malik amassed thousands of rounds of ammunition, a revelation that will surely throw open the debate on gun and ammunition control. Some 2,000 9mm rounds and 2,200 automatic rounds were found at a house the couple rented. Twelve pipe bombs were also found at the residence and “hundreds of tools,” many of which could be used to create IEDs and pipe bombs, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarred Burguan said. A further 1,400 .223 automatic rounds and over 200 9mm rounds were discovered with the suspects after a shootout with police.

Online marriage profiles

Syed Farook's profile on, an Indian marriage service website.

Syed Farook’s profile on, an Indian marriage service website.

Little is known about Tashfeen Malik, now confirmed as Farook’s wife (earlier reports were unclear if they were married or engaged). The couple had a six-month-old daughter who was left with relatives on the morning of the shooting, USA Today reports. Earlier in 2015. Malik posted an online  gift-registry on Target – colleagues of Farook’s are understood to have attended the baby shower.

It is not clear if Farook posted these online profiles himself. The profile says it was posted by Farook’s parents and many of the descriptions are in broken English. The profiles were created some years ago in Farook’s early twenties; it appears whoever created the profiles was seeking a partner for him.

Marriage profile for Syed Farook (28) on Dubai Matrimonial.

Marriage profile for Syed Farook (28) on Dubai Matrimonial.

“Sprayed the room with bullets”

How young parents with an infant child starting a life together could carry out such a heinous gun attack is sure to baffle family, friends and investigators. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Farook’s brother-in-law, Farhan Kahn, expressed his shock at the shootings and apologised for the loss of life:

We all are shocked that something like could happen. I love this country. I’ve been living in this community for a long time. On behalf of my family, we all are shocked and very sorry for what happened. That’s why I’m here. To say how sad we are that somebody lost husbands and wives. I don’t have words to express how sad and devastated I am.

Both Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with at least 20 police in San Bernardino on Wednesday afternoon. They are suspected of killing 14 people and seriously injuring 21 people (Updated: previously reported by officials as 17) in a mass shooting at a healthcare facility, reportedly after an argument at a holiday party.

Update: FBI spokesman Dave Bowdich said that it was too early to establish a motive for the shootings. “There was obviously a mission here.,” he said. “We don’t know if this was the intended target or if something prompted him.” obtained audio of the prolonged firefight from a nearby resident:



Our complete coverage of the San Bernardino shooting:

About the author

Malachy Browne

Malachy was the founding Managing Editor and Europe Anchor of from 2015 until April 2016. Based in Ireland, he worked with the European team to report on international stories emerging through online communities and citizen networks. Malachy has reported on the Arab Spring, conflicts in Ivory Coast, Yemen, Syria and Ukraine, humanitarian crises from Somalia’s famine to Typhoon Haiyan, and social and civil rights movements. He has written about eyewitness media and citizen networks for Al Jazeera, Open Democracy and the European Journalism Centre.

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