Syed Farook, the prime suspect in the mass shooting that killed 14 people and injured 17 others at a Southern California office building, was described by co-workers Wednesday as a reserved man who showed no signs of unusual behavior after returning from a month-long trip to Saudi Arabia.
Co-worker Patrick Baccari told the Associated Press that Farook, 28, was gone for about a month in the spring. He said word got around that Farook had been married and the woman he described as a pharmacist joined him in the U.S. shortly afterward. The couple also had a baby later this year.
The woman was later identified as Tashfeen Malik, 27. Malik is believed to have joined Farook in carrying out the ruthless shooting Wednesday.
Baccari told the Los Angeles Times the couple seemed to be living the “American Dream.” Bacarri shared a cubicle with Farook at the San Bernadino County Department of Public Health and said the only difference about Farook upon his return from Saudi Arabia was that he grew out his beard.
Co-workers told The Times they were shocked when they heard Farook, who they described as "devout," was linked to Wednesday morning’s massacre. Two health department workers who took cover in a bathroom when the shooting occurred told the newspaper Farook was quiet and polite and didn't seem to have any grudges.
Other colleagues said Farook was a devout Muslim who spent most of his time in the field.
“He never struck me as a fanatic, he never struck me as suspicious,” Griselda Reisinger, who worked with Farook until May, told the Times. "I would say hi and bye, but we never engaged him in conversation. He didn’t say much at all."
Reisinger added that Farook had attended the department's holiday party last year, which was held in the same conference room where Wednesday's shooting occurred. Baccari later said he had been sitting with Farook at the same table during the office party Wednesday morning, but his co-worker suddenly disappeared, leaving his coat on his chair.
Baccari said was in the bathroom and just about to dry his hands when the shots rang out.
Farhan Kahn, who said he was a brother-in-law of Farook, said at a CAIR press conference in Anaheim Wednesday night he was shocked to learn Farook was involved in the killing.
“I cannot express how said I am. I have no idea why he would do that,” Kahn said.
The Ahmadiyya Muslims Community USA condemned the attacks, saying "Islam teaches in the Koran that the killing of an innocent is like the destruction of all mankind."
"We extend our condolences to the victims' families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured," the group said in a statement..