As police continued their investigation Wednesday evening into the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed at least 14 people, a flurry of rumors descended on Twitter speculating on possible connections between the shooting incident and the Islamic State group, the militants who claimed responsibility for terror attacks in Paris last month.
With few details released from police on who the suspects were or what a potential motive could be to open fire on San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center -- which serves people with disabilities -- Twitter users were quick to attribute the rampage to supporters of the Islamic State group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. Google Trends, which tracks search terms for trending topics, also found that the terms “ISIS” and “California” were heavily searched together Wednesday.
— Pastor Belanger (@FFCCOOLJC) December 2, 2015
In a news conference Wednesday evening, law enforcement officials said a potential explosive device had been recovered, although law enforcement also told media it was unclear where the device was found or whether it had been brought by the suspects. Twitter users linked the device to reports last year that ISIS-affiliated online forums included instructions for making pipe bombs out of items such as Christmas lights, bleach, sugar and matches, for potential attacks to be carried out in the U.S.
According to social media, this shooting in California is either because of ISIS or because of Republicans. Can we just not?
— C. Whalen Stephens (@CorieWStephens) December 2, 2015
It’s not the first time in recent days that California has seen ISIS surface in local news. On Tuesday, a California man pleaded guilty to planning to join the group in Syria. Nicholas Michael Teausant, 22, from Acampo -- near Stockton -- was charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Teausant was arrested in March 2014 while traveling to the U.S.-Canadian border, en route to Syria to join ISIS, a statement from the prosecutor’s office alleged. The criminal complaint against Teausant said he had told an FBI informant about his plans.