TV cameras get inside home of couple behind massacre
REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) — The kitchen had pots on the stove, dirty dishes in the sink and a half-eaten pita sandwich. In a bedroom, there were boxes of diapers next to a crib with mussed sheets and a desk with photo identification of Syed Farook.
Viewers around the world got an intimate look Friday at the home of Farook and Tashfeen Malik, two days after their modest Redlands apartment became an active crime scene and where authorities said the couple stored pipe bombs, tools and large caches of ammunition.
Camera crews were elbow-to-elbow as they broadcast live inside the home in a chaotic scramble, while about 100 journalists lodged on the front lawn. Television crews moved documents to position for their shots. Some picked through documents and photos and rummaged through bedrooms.
The images showed mundane details of everyday life. A mattress lay on a bedroom floor, covered with documents and Arabic books. The closet had clothes hanging and family photos on the top shelf, with a hole in the ceiling.
The living room table had several documents, including one that authorities left behind listing what they had seized. Walls were covered with decorative rugs with Arabic script.
David Bowdich, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge in Los Angeles, said authorities returned the home to the owner Thursday night after executing a search warrant.
"Once the residents have the apartment and we're not involved any more, we don't control it," he said.
FBI Director James Comey said he was "neither happy nor unhappy" with the video footage shown.
"When we're done with a location, we return it to the rightful owners and we have to leave an inventory under the law of what was taken," he said. "People got to see our great criminal justice system in action."
Ellen Glasser, a former FBI agent who coordinated a counterterrorism task force in Jacksonville, Florida, said anything left behind would be compromised but authorities may have gotten everything they needed. She found the spectacle unsettling.
"I thought it was bizarre," said Glasser, a professor of criminology at University of North Florida. "I've never seen that kind of thing happen before, but this is a frenzy for information."
As journalists sifted through the family's personal belongings live on air, social media responded with a barrage of angry tweets. MSNBC was trending within the hour, with more than 42,000 tweets sent out about the network that had aired family photos, a driver's license and a social security CAPS card.
MSNBC said that while it was not the first crew to enter the home, it was the first to air live shots from inside.
"We regret that we briefly showed images of photographs and identification cards that should not have been aired without review," said Diana Rocco, MSNBC spokeswoman.
CNN said that it made an editorial decision not to air close-up photos of material that could be sensitive or identifiable, such as photos or ID cards. Fox said it exercised "cautious editorial judgment and refrained from showing close-ups of sensitive information."
The Associated Press was among the news organizations that visited the home, but did not touch anything.
Landlord Doyle Miller opened the home after the FBI was finished with its investigation and that journalists quickly took over the home, where the couple had lived since May.
"I opened up the door, I looked in, and all of a sudden rush, whoosh," said Miller.
Associated Press writers David Bauder, Eric Tucker and Alina Hartounian contributed to this report.