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Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Back issues
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Friend of Mass Murderers to Face Terror Charges

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Enrique Marquez, friend and one-time neighbor of San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook, was charged Thursday with conspiring to give material support to the terrorists who killed 14 and injured 22 on Dec. 2.

According to the indictment, Marquez and Farook had also planned earlier attacks on Riverside Community College and a local freeway during rush hour.

Authorities say Marquez, 24, bought the assault rifles that Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, used in the shooting and explosive material used to make the remote-controlled pipe bomb that Farook allegedly left on table at the Inland Regional Center, the site of the massacre.

Marquez, 24, was scheduled to appear in Federal Court in Riverside Thursday afternoon. He has been charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms, and fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents.

"Mr. Marquez conspired with Mr. Farook to commit vicious attacks, as set forth in today's charges," Eileen Decker, Los Angeles' top federal prosecutor, said in a written statement.

"Even though these plans were not carried out, Mr. Marquez's criminal conduct deeply affected San Bernardino County, Southern California and the entire United States when the guns purchased by Marquez were used to kill 14 innocent people and wound many others," Decker said.

The day of the shooting, Marquez allegedly posted on Facebook: "I'm. Very sorry sguys. It was a pleasure."

The following day, Marquez checked himself in to the UCLA-Harbor Medical Center after earlier calling 911 and telling the operator that he felt suicidal.

FBI agents searched Marquez's home on Dec. 5, but he was not charged at that time.

According to reports, Marquez, who is employed as a doorman at the pirate-themed Morgan's Tavern in Riverside, did not show up for work after the attacks.

Decker said while there is no evidence that Marquez participated in the Dec. 2 attack, "his prior purchase of the firearms and ongoing failure to warn authorities about Farook's intent to commit mass murder had fatal consequences."

According to the affidavit filed by Special Agent Joel Anderson, Marquez met Farook after moving to Riverside in 2005.

Marquez converted to Islam in 2007, and sometime thereafter Farook attempted to radicalize his friend, introducing him to the extremist views of the now-deceased imam and lecturer Anwar Al-Aulaqi.

By 2011, the special agent said Marquez and Farook were planning terrorist attacks on Riverside Community College and on the 91 freeway.

In preparation, the two men purchased firearms, ammunition and tactical gear, and began regularly going to local firing ranges.

Anderson says in 2012, Marquez purchased rifles from local sporting goods stores, identified himself as the buyer and gave the firearms to Farook.

Later, Anderson says, Marquez began purchasing explosive materials for Farook.

Marquez and Farook plotted in late 2011 to attack a library or cafeteria at Riverside Community College, where both men were enrolled as students.

They planned to throw pipe bombs from the second floor of a building into a cafeteria below with the intent to massacre as many people as possible. According to the affidavit, the plan was to shoot people as they tried to flee.

A second attack was planned during afternoon rush hour on the eastbound lanes of State Route 91. The two men planned to throw pipe bombs on to the highway to halt traffic after which Farook would shoot into vehicles while Marquez took a support position with a firearm on a nearby hill.

"Marquez stated that he planned to shoot into the stopped vehicles from his position on the hills while watching for any approaching law enforcement or emergency responders. According to Marquez, his priority was to shoot law enforcement personnel before shooting life-saving personnel," the affidavit states.

Investigators say the two men abandoned their plans after federal authorities arrested Ralph Deleon and three other men on terror-related charges in 2012. Communications between the Marquez and Farook dramatically declined the following year.

The affidavit reveals Marquez's statements on social media, giving some hint to his state of mind in the weeks leading to the attack.

In a Nov. 5 Facebook post he wrote: "No one really knows me. I lead multiple lives and I'm wondering when it's all going to collapse..."

He added after a brief exchange with an unidentified Facebook user: "Involved in terrorist plots, drugs, antisocial behavior, marriage, might go to prison for fraud, etc."

Marquez's 911 call the day after the attack is also detailed in the affidavit. During the call Marquez tells the operator that he knew the shooter.

"The fucking asshole used my gun in the shooting," Marquez said, adding that he gave the shooter the gun "only for safe storage."

"What was the guy's name that had your gun?" the operator asked.

"It's Syed Farook," Marquez replied.

In November 2014, despite distancing himself from Farook, Marquez entered into a sham marriage with a woman who was the sister of the wife of Farook's brother, the FBI said.

Marquez later lied to Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to help the woman remain in the country, investigators say.

David Bowdich of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office said it had taken two weeks to gather evidence to build the terrorism case against Marquez.

"As we will continue to investigate the facts surrounding the terrible shooting in San Bernardino, we will leave no stone unturned in an effort to deliver answers and justice to the murdered victims and the families they left behind," Bowdich said.

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