The female San Bernardino shooter held a pharmacy degree.
The female shooter in the San Bernardino killings held a pharmacy degree from Pakistan, but wasn’t practicing in the United States at the time of the terrorist attack.
Before coming to America, Tashfeen Malik studied pharmacy at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, southern Punjab, her uncle told The Wall Street Journal. However, she didn’t appear to be working as a pharmacist in the United States, and the California State Board of Pharmacy said she isn’t licensed as a pharmacist in the state.
According to multiple reports, Malik’s intentions to commit an act of terrorism were made very clear when she pledged her allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Facebook at about the same time she and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, began their shooting rampage.
The Facebook post and a bomb-making factory found at the couple’s home, which was stocked with pipe bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition, strongly supported the FBI’s prospect that this was an act of terrorism and could also indicate that the pair was planning more attacks, The New York Times reported.
Malik’s transition to a terrorist influenced by ISIS began around 2009 when, according to one of her closest friends, she suddenly began dedicating more time to conservative Islamic studies than pharmacology, according to The Washington Post. She would spend her evenings at a madrassa that her friend, Abida Rani, believes belongs to the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam, a conservative faith widely practiced in Saudi Arabia, where Malik grew up.
“We were like, ‘what happened to Malik?’” Rani told The Washington Post. “She became so religious, so serious, and so focused on Islamic teachings, and she lost her interest in her [pharmacy] studies.”
One of Malik’s pharmacology professors told the paper that Malik never sat in the front row in class and never discussed her personal beliefs. Upon graduation from pharmacy school, she attempted to remove all of her photographs from the university’s databases.
After graduation, Malik moved back to Saudi Arabia, where she apparently connected with Farook, who had been searching for a wife on marriage websites, The Washington Post reported.
The couple was legally married in Riverside, California, in August 2014.
In a news conference last week, the Farook family’s 2 lawyers said “the couple’s family were shocked by the massacre.” One of the lawyers, David Chesley, even questioned the legitimacy of Malik’s Facebook post.
“We all want an answer,” Chesley said to The New York Times. “We all are angry. We’re all frustrated. We’re all sad. We want justice. But unfortunately some things in life aren’t as clear-cut as that.”
He told the paper that Farook’s mother, who was living with the couple, “stayed to herself…not aware of what was taking place in the rest of the house.” Chelsey added that Farook left the couple’s 6-month-old daughter to his mother just before the massacre.
Additional reporting by Katie Eder, Senior Editor.