Why the Hell Did the San Bernardino Shooters’ Landlord Allow Media Into Their Apartment?


On Friday morning, reporters from what seemed like every major media company, including CNN, CBS News, and MSNBC, flooded into the apartment of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the couple responsible for Wednesday’s massacre in San Bernardino. Meanwhile, cable news broadcasters stood by agog asking the question we all were shouting at our computer screens: “How the hell is this legal?”

According to reports, police and FBI concluded their investigation into the crime scene prior to Friday morning, which meant that landlord Doyle Miller could do whatever he wanted with the space. That’s why America was treated to images of camera crews and reporters on their cellphones rifling through a recently abandoned but clearly lived-in home: a pan and spatula left on the counter, a desk covered in documents and wires, an unmade child’s bed, a check to Farook containing bank account information, and, reportedly, Farook’s mother’s social security card.

(There are conflicting reports about whether Miller was ambushed by press or willingly let reporters in. One report claims Miller was bribed $1,000.)

“There are a dozen people in there totally destroying a crime scene which is still vital in this investigation,” said law enforcement specialist Harry Houck on CNN. “I’m really shocked here. If the police are watching this right now, they better be on their way down there to stop this from happening.”

News organizations handled the situation questionably. Reporters guided cameras through the home, showing a prayer rug and a child’s bedroom. There were also civilians present, including a dog and a baby.

CNN’s Victor Blackwell reported seeing four pages of seizure documents from the FBI detailing all items taken from the home, meaning that the crime scene has been thoroughly combed through. The FBI does have the opportunity to amend that document, according to CNN, if they find something of interest in the scene that they didn’t initially take into evidence. Chances are, this amendment will no longer be possible.

FBI officials reportedly confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the investigation had concluded before press was allowed into the apartment. We’ll update this post as these media organizations respond.


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