Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, was among the 14 people killed in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, his wife told the New York Times on Thursday. In an phone interview, Jennifer Thalasinos told the paper that he was among the same "little group" of employees as Syed Farook, one of the suspected shooters in an attack that occurred at a social services center.
"He had worked with [Farook],” Thalasinos said. “He had talked about him. Nothing negative."
Thalasinos said that she and her husband were Messianic Jews, that he wore traditional Jewish tassels and that he was politically conservative. She said that her husband would not have known if Farook, who was described as a devout Muslim by family, had been radicalized.
“My husband was very outspoken about ISIS and all of these radicalized Muslims,” she said to the Times. “If he would’ve thought that somebody in his office was like that, he would’ve said something.”
Thalasinos had previously worked in New Jersey, where a former colleague called him "a wonderful friend," according to Philly.com. At least 14 people were killed and 21 more were injured in the shooting on Wednesday. The suspected shooters, Farook, 28, and his wife 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik. Prior to the alleged attack, the couple left their 6-month-old daughter with Farook's mother, saying they had a doctor's appointment, according to the New York Times. The shooting occurred during "a Christmas gathering, holiday-type of luncheon," San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said on Thursday during a press conference.
Farook worked at the county health department as an environmental health specialist and left the party reportedly in an angered state. He allegedly returned with his wife, armed with multiple weapons and dressed in tactical gear.
The shooting suspects behind the shooting in San Bernardino on Wednesday fired up to 75 rounds and used an explosive device controlled by a remote control, Burguan said on Thursday during a press conference. "They sprayed the room with bullets, so I don't know if there was one person they openly targeted," he said. Following a chase and an exchange of gunfire with authorities, both Farook and Malik were killed.
Described to reporters as a devout Muslim by family, Farook was a U.S. citizen born in Illinois, while Malik was a Pakistani citizen in the country on a visa for fiancés, officials said. A motive for the attack has yet to be determined. Farook had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
“It is possible that this was terrorist-related, but we don’t know,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in an address from the Oval Office on Thursday. “It’s also possible that this was workplace-related.
Police were expected to name all 14 victims Thursday.