They had the semiautomatic rifles needed to slaughter 14 innocent people in San Bernardino last December — including three men who valiantly tried to rush and overwhelm them.
But in the end, their weapons, hatred and silly stockpile of ibuprofen, adult diapers and Airsoft neck guards were no match for the incredible police response that hunted them down.
A new in-depth report released by the Justice Department Friday gave an astonishingly vivid account of last December’s massacre carried out by San Bernardino County health inspector Syed Farook, 28, and his Pakistan-born wife Tashfeen Malik, 29.
Based on hundreds of interviews with witnesses and first responders, the report included a step-by-step reconstruction of the lightning-fast manhunt for the two terrorists and their final, desperate gun battle with police.
It was just moments after the first masked killer burst into the conference room at the Inland Regional Center and began spraying bullets at Farook’s county co-workers that the three unidentified men tried to stop the massacre, a slideshow included with the report revealed.
The heroes were shot dead in their tracks, it said.
The chilling report said the killers didn’t say a word as they mercilessly fired 100 rounds during their blood-soaked rampage and even hit a sprinkler pipe that began gushing water from the ceiling.
Before they hastily disappeared in a rented black SUV parked outside, the shooters walked silently between tables and pumped bullets into anyone still moving or making a sound, according to the report.
One county official said it was utterly “surreal” to witness the chaos and carnage that left 14 dead and 22 wounded.
The couple unloaded 81 shots at cops, but cops responded with 440 rounds at their rented SUV.
“I was thinking this was the most glorified training I had ever seen,” the survivor said. “Probably on the second or third clip, it finally clicked that this wasn’t an exercise.”
Within minutes, police were on the scene. They described having to brush off injured victims begging for help as they followed their active-shooter training and focused on finding and neutralizing any remaining threat.
Remarkably, it was a rookie cop interviewing a traumatized witness who first grasped the possibility that Farook was behind the mass murder.
The cop quickly went straight to his father, who was a sergeant in the San Bernardino Police Department’s narcotics unit, the report said.
In addition to these weapons, the couple had three pipe bombs, meant to go off as first responders arrived to help.
Meanwhile, a police analyst sitting at a desk ran a plate memorized by a caller reporting a suspicious black SUV.
The plate came back as a rental, and the analyst, working with incredible speed, located a rental company that provided a match with the new suspect’s name.
“Unbeknownst to just about everyone at the command post,” several members of the SBPD’s undercover narcotics unit headed to Farook’s address in nearby Redlands and saw the SUV leaving, the report said.
The officers followed behind in unmarked cars and eventually flagged down a Redlands cop who then attempted to pull the SUV over.
Malik shattered the back window as she started firing. Farook kept driving but then slammed on his brakes, jumped out and opened fire too.
Together the shooting spouses unloaded at least 81 rounds, but they were outgunned by the 175 officers who quickly arrived at the scene. All told, two dozen officers fired at least 440 shots at the vehicle, killing Farook and Malik in a matter of minutes, the report said.
Amazingly, only two officers were hurt, though several described feeling bullets whiz by their positions even 80 yards back, the report said.
One deputy didn’t realize he’d been wounded until he took a shower 13 hours later and noticed blood on his leg, the report said.
The stockpile of weapons by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik didn’t do much for the couple.
(US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION / HANDOUT/EPA)
Upon searching Farook’s SUV, investigators found a stash of ibuprofen pills, tourniquets, emergency bandages and “even adult diapers,” the report said.
Both shooters also were wearing Airsoft neck guards, which typically are used to stop plastic pellets in military simulation games, the report revealed.
The report called the guards “curious” because “that equipment would have done nothing to stop bullets.”
Back at the conference room, investigators made a scary discovery some six hours after the attack when they opened a bag Farook left behind and found three pipe bombs.
Authorities now believe the bombs were meant to go off after first responders arrived to help victims.
The report said its goal was to “critically assess the decisions made and the actions taken in response to the terrorist attacks-not in judgment but in careful study.”