Mother of 2015 San Bernardino IRC Shooting Admits to Destroying Evidence

Mother of 2015 San Bernardino IRC Shooting Admits to Destroying Evidence

The mother of the San Bernardino shooter will be pleading guilty to destroying evidence related to the 2015 terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center (IRC) in San Bernardino.

The crime carries a maximum 20 year sentence, but as a result of the plea deal, Rafia Sultana Shareef, a.k.a. Rafia Farook, 66, will only receive around 18 months in a Federal prison. Shareef, a Corona woman, was charged with a single count of alteration, destruction, and mutilation of records. On Monday, March 2, 2020, the plea agreement was filed at the United States District Court in the City of Riverside. Shareef is scheduled to appear in court on March 16, 2020. 

The charges stem from the December 2, 2015, terrorist attacks that occurred while she was living in Redlands with her son, Syed Rizwan Farook, his wife, Tashfeen Malik and her grandchild. At around 8:00 a.m. Farook and Malik told Shareef that they were leaving the home for a medical appointment. They left their small child in the care of Shareef who was unaware of the actual plan.

The couple drove a rental vehicle, a black SUV to the Inland Regional Center (IRC) in San Bernardino, where Farook entered while Malik waited inside the vehicle. Farook placed a bomb in a conference room where a Christmas event was being held by Farook’s co-workers. He left with his wife shortly after and returned just before 11 a.m. dressed in black tactical gear. Both Farook and Malik began firing the high-powered firearms at people in and  outside of the venue. Fourteen people were killed and nearly two dozen others were injured as a result of the incident. At around 11:01 a.m. the two left and drove around San Bernardino. The two were located and were involved in a firefight with authorities. One officer was injured and the couple was killed as a result of the shooting.

Sometime between 11:43 a.m. and 3:06 p.m., while Shareef was still at her home, she learned that law enforcement had identified her son as a suspect in the IRC attack, the plea agreement states. In the presence of family members that afternoon, Shareef expressed her belief that her son and daughter-in-law had perpetrated the IRC attack, according to the plea agreement. Prior to leaving the family home with her infant grandchild at 3:41 p.m., Shareef went into her son’s bedroom, grabbed at least one document that appeared to be a map, and fed it into a shredder, according to the plea agreement. Shareef admitted that she knew her son had produced the document, and she believed it was directly related to his planning of the IRC attack.

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