Dec 7, 2015 4:47 PM by NBC News, Photo: U.S. Government
More than a year before they killed 14 people in a California gun rampage, young newlyweds Syed Farook and Tafsheen Malik arrived in Chicago from the Middle East, pausing at customs for a photograph that captured their first moments on American soil together.
The July 2014 snapshot, obtained Monday by NBC News, shows the couple at O'Hare International Airport dressed in traditional Muslim clothing: Malik in a black hijab covering her head and chest, Farook, bearded, in a white robe and skullcap. Both appear tight-lipped and serious.
Farook, born in Illinois, and Malik, a Pakistani national, had met online the year before, and were reportedly married in Saudi Arabia. He successfully petitioned the U.S. government to allow her to join him through a visa program for foreigners engaged to American citizens.
They soon wound up in southern California, where he worked as a San Bernardino County health inspector, and their marriage was made official.
Malik became a housewife and slowly learned English, according to Farook's family. In May, she gave birth to a daughter.
Last Wednesday, they left the 6-month-old girl with Farook's mother, armed themselves with assault-style rifles and opened fire on a San Bernardino County holiday luncheon. Most of those killed, and many of the 21 injured, were Farook's co-workers.
The couple died in a shootout with police later that day.
Investigators are still trying to determine what led the new parents, both in their late 20s, to leave their child an orphan in order to commit an act of terror.
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