MACOMB CO, Mich. (WJBK) - The FBI is investigating several possible motives for Wednesday's shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 people and left 17 others wounded.
Police say a married couple opened fire at an office holiday party inside a social services center for the disabled. One of the assailants has been identified as 28-yaer-old Syed Farook. He was an American citizen and a California health inspector.
His colleagues say Farook angrily left the party and returned with his wife, both of them heavily armed. His wife has been identified as 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik. Hours after the shooting both were killed in a gun battle with police.
"It's one piece of the puzzle, who just traveled to Saudia Arabia, who has a new wife, and has the ability, obviously, to make explosive devices and things like that here. As you put the pieces together, it would seem to be right now, an initial impression, that this might be a terrorist act," says Bill Kowalski. He spent 25 years at the FBI across the nation, last serving as assistant special agent in charge of the FBI in Detroit and specialized in counter terror.
He says, although he has his thoughts, the feds are in charge of saying whether the San Bernadino attack was terror related or workplace violence. But he says, if this is terrorism, the way operatives work is changing. A husband, originally from Saudia Arabia, and his wife, whom he found there, are the two suspects who have been shot and killed.
"The terrorists learn also. So they figure, all right, if the law enforcement is going to focus on this aged male, then we have to find another way to penetrate the hardened targets. So, we are seeing the utilization of females more and more often," Kowalski says.
Locally, a day after the attacks, all attention moves to our local law enforcement. Are counties here in Michigan prepared if such an attack happened here?
In San Bernardino, video footage shows two armored vehicles move in on the suspects' black SUV. Those are known as BearCats, and the Obama Administration asked that these vehicles be returned to the feds from Michigan with the concern of overmilitarizing local police. Departments, including the Macomb County Sheriff's Office, had them up until Wednesday.
"That's been taken back, actually. That went back on a trailer yesterday," Sheriff Anthony Wickersham confirmed to FOX 2. "I've talked, obviously, to the County Executive's Office and the County Board of Commissioners, and next week I'll be in front of them asking to get the funding secured so I can start the process right after the first of the year in getting a replacement vehicle for our SWAT team."
At the State of the County Wednesday night, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel had some stern words for the White House.
"This vehicle carries. It has no weapons on it. It's only purpose is for safe transport, and now the president is taking them back. Unfortunately, as we sit here this evening, there's yet another tragic event unfolding in California. I heard the president say, as I was driving in here on my radio, I was listening to it, this is what he said, 'We know there are ways we can make America safer.' Well, Mr. President, if you want to make our first responders safer? First thing, tomorrow morning, rescind that order," he said.
FOX 2 has reached out to the White House for comment but has not heard back.