Tashfeen Malik, the female suspect in the San Bernardino shooting spree started to dress more conservatively and became more devout in the last few years, according to her aunt.
The woman who helped her husband kill 14 people at a holiday banquet for his county co-workers pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and its leader on Facebook using an alias, a U.S. law enforcement official said Friday.
The slowly emerging profile of Tashfeen Malik, the female suspect in last week’s shooting rampage in San Bernardino, is the story of a a smart, hard-working and modern woman who became more devout and dressed more conservatively in recent years.
In Malik’s Pakistani hometown of Karor Lal Esan, her aunt Hifza Batool, said the family has been stunned by the shootings. She told the BBC that Malik brought a “bad name” to the family, and that family members can’t fathom how she went so wrong.
“I recently heard it from relatives that she has become a religious person, and she often tells people to live according to the teachings of Islam,” Batool told the Associated Press.
Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, opened fire at a holiday [Ed. Christmas] party at the Southern California city’s Inland Regional Center Wednesday, killing 14 people. Farook worked as an environmental health specialist for San Bernardino County for five years and had been at the party with his co-workers before returning with his wife, four guns and a bomb.
Malik, 29, was born in Pakistan but her father lived in Saudi Arabia for many years. Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki denied reports that Malik grew up in his country, telling AP that she visited for a few weeks in 2008 and again in 2013. Al-Turki also said there was no indication she became radicalized there.
Malik attended pharmacology school in Multan, a Pakistani city that has been linked to jihadist activity in the past. Nisar Hussain, a professor at her school, described her as a religious but “normal” person.
“She was a very hardworking and submissive student,” Hussain told the Los Angeles Times. “She never created any problem in the class. She was an obedient girl. I cannot even imagine she could murder people.”
A maid in Malik’s home in Multan told AP that Malik wore a scarf that left her face uncovered until two or three years ago, when she began wearing a scarf that left only her nose and eyes exposed. The news agency said the woman spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing her employment with the family.