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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

FBI Ends Search of Lake for Shooting Clues

(CN) - FBI divers wrapped a three-day search of a small San Bernardino lake Saturday night that they hoped would turn up clues to why a couple went on a murderous rampage that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

Secommbe Lake, the subject of the diver's scrutiny, is located in a public park located about 2.5 miles from the site of the Dec. 2 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

Acting on a tip it received last week, the FBI was searching for a missing computer hard drive that the couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, apparently discarded the morning of the murders.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller announced the end of the investigation at the lake Sunday evening, and said the agency had "no plan to return at this time."

Eimiller declined to comment on items retrieved from the lake, saying only that "the divers' findings will be analyzed for evidentiary value in this case."

On a related note, FBI agent joined the Hawthorne Police Department Sunday morning in its investigation of vandalism and threats to a mosque and an Islamic Center located in southwest Los Angeles County.

Officers received a call about vandalism and a potential explosive device in front of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Baitus-Salaam Mosque, the police department said.

When they arrived at the scene, the officers found what looked like a grenade and evacuated the area. The object turned out to be a fake. Someone had also painted the word "Jesus" on the fence leading to the mosque's parking lot.

A short time later, the department received another report of vandalism, at the Islamic Center of Hawthorne. This time, the responding officers found the words "Jesus in the way" sprayed-painted on the side of the buildings.

The police department believes both incidents occurred sometime Saturday night.

In a statement, the FBI's Eimiller said, "The will work with our law enforcement partners at the Hawthorne Police Department, whose detectives are leading the investigation at this time, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, whose personnel were also notified and first responded."

"Investigators will work to identify the person or group responsible, the motivation and whether religious bias was a factor. All evidence will be reviewed by state and federal prosecutors to determine whether a violation under federal civil rights statutes occurred," the statement said.

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