In the wake of the deadly rampage in San Bernardino, California, President Barack Obama spoke from the Oval Office on Thursday to say that while it was “possible” Wednesday’s attack was related to terrorism, authorities have yet to determine the motivations behind the shooting. The president also announced that the FBI has officially taken over the investigation.
“At this stage we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred,” Obama said, surrounded by members of his national security team. “We do know that the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have additional weaponry in their homes. But we don’t know why they did it. We don’t know at this point the extent of their plans. We do not know their motivations”
“It is possible this was terrorist related but we don’t know,” he added. “It’s also possible this was work related.”
The president concluded his remarks by urging lawmakers to enact legislation aimed at making it more difficult for potential mass shooters to obtain weapons.
“We all have a part to play,” he said. “As the investigation moves forward, it’s important for all of us, including our legislators, to see what we can do.”
On Wednesday, 14 people were killed by two gunmen inside Inland Regional Services, a center that assists individuals with developmental disabilities. Two suspects, identified as Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, are believed to have opened fire inside the building where a Christmas party was taking place, before fleeing the scene inside an SUV. An hours-long manhunt concluded with the two being killed by authorities.
As news of Wednesday’s shooting began to unfold, Obama was sitting down for a pre-scheduled interview with CBS, where he reminded Americans that the country’s mass shootings pattern has “no parallel” abroad.
“We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events, because it doesn’t happen with the same frequency in other countries,” Obama said.