Camera crews were elbow-to-elbow as they broadcast live inside the home in a chaotic scramble.
REDLANDS, Calif. — In the smaller of the two bedrooms, a white crib was piled with baby blankets and toys. Stuffed animals filled a laundry basket. A white bear peeked from the bottom.
On a desk nearby, loose change was scattered next to a student-ID card from a local university. And in the closet, dozens of plastic hangers hung with brightly colored tags marking the baby-clothes sizes: 3 months, 6 months, 9 months.
In the bathroom, a pink baby bath rested in the tub. A small heart-shape plaque on the wall read, “May the joy you bring to so many others with your gentle and caring ways, be returned to you with blessings every day.”
In the middle of the living room were two small black tables. On one was a four-page list that included these items: 13 boxes of 50 rounds (22 caliber). 1 bag of 1000 rounds (. 223 caliber). budsgunshop.com invoice. Christmas lights.
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The FBI made an accounting of all it had seized from the two-story town house of Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, who carried out Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino.
In a surreal scene Friday, Doyle Miller, 81, the owner of the modest rental property in Redlands, opened the killers’ private lives to the eager eyes of dozens of journalists camped outside. He arrived planning to photograph any damage that had been done during the search. After he pried off a heavy plywood board that had been used to seal the front door, Miller appeared to tell one journalist that he could enter.
With that, the whole crowd rushed in and up the stairs.
Photographers and camera operators jostled for position as several reporters rummaged through photographs, personal documents, identification cards and Islamic books strewn on a bed. CNN and MSNBC broadcast the scene live.
“I was the first person to walk into this room and saw how it was before everyone started touching it,” a CNN reporter told viewers as the camera swept across the cluttered bed. She then walked across the bedroom to point out a large hole that investigators had broken in the ceiling to inspect the crawl space.
A MSNBC reporter, meanwhile, showed on live television a driver’s license belonging to Farook’s mother, who authorities do not believe was involved in the killings.
A television reporter asked his producer to check the family’s calendar to see if anything had been marked down for Dec. 2. It didn’t seem to be.
Soon, the dozens of reporters were joined by curious neighbors. One woman brought her dog.
A Los Angeles Times reporter who was among those who entered the home confirmed with Miller that he had allowed the journalists to enter. “Yeah, I gave permission to open it up,” he said.
FBI officials later said they had completed their work at the town house and relinquished control of it.
Critics slammed the decision to report on the apartment, questioning the journalistic value in doing so. Broadcasting live was particularly egregious, they said, because it gave reporters no time to assess what they were showing viewers.
Authorities said that along with the guns and ammunition, they found bomb-making materials and 12 pipe bombs in the garage.
Miller said he would not open the garage. There were too many reporters around.