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Police: Christmas Party May Have Triggered San Bernardino Terror Attack

SAN BERNARDINO ( — Federal investigators say the terror attack that left 14 people dead one year ago in San Bernardino may have been triggered by a training session and mandatory attendance at a county holiday party.

San Bernardino Police Lt. Mike Madden told CBS2's Tina Patel on Thursday that Tashfeen Malik, the Pakistani wife of shooter Syed Farook, wrote in emails in 2014 that she didn't think a Muslim should have to participate in a non-Muslim tradition or event.

Malik and Farook would go on the next year to kill 14 county employees and wound 22 others at a mandatory training session and holiday-themed party for county employees at the Inland Regional Center.

"She was upset about him having to participate in an event of that nature," Madden said Thursday. "...And that Muslims should not participate in what are predominately Christian events. Whether or not that was the catalyst that led to this, that's entirely open for speculation."

COMPLETE COVERAGE: San Bernardino Shooting

Terrorism expert Brian Levin of Cal State San Bernardino told KNX 1070 this could be just one piece of the motive given that Farook had sought to carry out an attack in 2012.

"At least Farook had violent tendencies years before, but maybe this was the thing that deviated the attack to another place," said Levin.

Investigators also discovered the couple never strayed far from the scene: they circled the place - often going right past police barricades - presumably trying to set off pipe bombs in the Inland Regional Center.

The remote detonator was found in their SUV after they were killed in a gun battle with police.

Still, investigators have not been able to account for the couple's whereabouts for a critical 18-minute period during the day of the attack.


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