San Bernardino Suspect Was ‘Bad Person,' Brother-in-Law Says

The brother-in-law of one of the San Bernardino shooting suspects said Wednesday’s massacre had nothing to do with Syed Rizwan Farook's religion, but rather was a “personal act” that he hopes wouldn't reflect on all Muslims.

"I am Muslim; I'm a good person. There is a lot of good Muslims there," Farhan Khan told NBC's Lester Holt. "He was a bad person. That was his personal act." 

Khan said he had no idea what prompted the rampage. 

Police said Farook, 28, attended a holiday party at a state-run social services center Wednesday and left "angry." They believe he came back with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, and opened fire, killing 14 and injuring 21 others. The couple died more than four hours later in a shootout with police.

"I wish we could have… some slightest idea," Khan told NBC News Thursday.

Khan said his brother-in-law wasn’t a political person and never gave any indication as to what may have motivated him to attack party-goers with four guns and and an explosive device that failed to detonate. Many of those killed were county employees, authorities said.

Officials told NBC News that Farook may have been radicalized, and U.S. intelligence sources have said Farook was in contact with extremists under FBI surveillance.

A friend of shooting victim Nicholas Thalasinos told The Associated Press that Farook had a heated conversation about Islam two weeks before the attack. She said Thalasinos, a Messianic Jew, told her Farook "doesn't agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion" and that Americans don't understand Islam. Thalasinos and Farook worked together for the county health department.

Thalasinos' wife, Jennifer, told NBC Los Angeles that Farook got along with everybody, but she believes he was radicalized during a recent trip abroad.

"I think this was happening behind the scenes, he wasn't showing this part of himself at work because I know if he would've been, my husband would've had something to say," Jennifer Thalasinos said. "My husband was very outspoken about Islamic terrorism."

Khan, however, said his brother-in-law was a “good religious person,” who wasn’t a radical.

"It's his stupid action, nothing to do with religion at all. It's always going to be a question... You know, why he did something like that. A normal person living with my family. Why would he do something like that?” Khan wondered.

He expressed his condolences for the victims and their families that added that Farook’s family would have contacted authorities if there was any known threat.

Khan also spoke at a press conference Wednesday evening held by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, condemning the attacks.

"I am in shock that something like this can happen," he said on Wednesday.

Farook and Malik had an infant daughter, who was left with her grandmother before the shooting took place.

"You left your 6-month-old daughter…in this life," Khan said, as though speaking directly to his late brother-in-law. "Some people cannot have kids. God gave you a gift of a daughter. And you left that kid behind. What…what did you achieve?"

Khan said he hopes to adopt Farook and Malik’s orphaned girl, who's currently in protective custody.

Ari Mason contributed to this report.

Contact Us