San Bernardino gun buyer wondered when 'multiple lives' would collapse

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Less than a month before his friend carried out the San Bernardino massacre, the man who bought the assault rifles used in the attack wondered when the multiple lives he was leading would come crashing down.

See Full Article

"Involved in terrorist plots, drugs, anti-social behaviour, marriage, might go to prison for fraud, etc," Enrique Marquez Jr. told someone in a Nov. 5 chat on Facebook described in a court document that foreshadowed the trouble he was facing before any bullets started flying.

Now he stands accused of terrorism-related charges and other counts that connect him to the the San Bernardino attack.

Marquez, 24, was charged Thursday with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists in deadly plots with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012 that they never carried out.

The duo, who had become adherents to radicalized Islam ideology as neighbours in Riverside, wanted to maximize carnage by using pipe bombs and guns to kill innocent people at a campus cafeteria and those stuck in rush hour traffic, court documents said.

Those plans may never have come to light if not for the attack where Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, used guns Marquez bought years ago to kill 14 people and wound 22 at a holiday meeting of Farook's health department co-workers.

Marquez was charged with illegally purchasing the rifles that the shooters used in the slaughter and were found with hours later after dying in a gunbattle with police.

In his initial court appearance, Marquez looked disheveled. His short hair flopped over his forehead, there was stubble on his face, and the pockets of his black pants were turned out. He appeared calm and showed no emotion as he gave one-word answers to the judge.

No plea was entered and he was ordered held until a bail hearing Monday in U.S. District Court. If convicted of all three counts, he could face up to 35 years in federal prison.

His public defender declined comment, though friends and family have described him as a good person who was easygoing and liked to party.

Marquez, a former licensed security guard, was working at a Riverside bar at the time of the shooting and is not alleged to have had a role in the attack.

But prosecutors said he was linked to the killings by the guns and explosive materials he bought years earlier. The couple used that material in a remote-controlled pipe bomb that never detonated at the conference room where the shootings occurred.

"His prior purchase of the firearms and ongoing failure to warn authorities about Farook's intent to commit mass murder had fatal consequences," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said.

A lengthy affidavit by FBI special agent Joel Anderson outlines evidence against Marquez, including statements he gave investigators over 11 days after he waived his rights to remain silent and be represented by a lawyer.

Attorney E. Martin Estrada, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, said the admissibility of Marquez's statements to the FBI will likely be challenged by defence lawyers, but if the statements are allowed in court, they give prosecutors a very strong case because of corroborating evidence.

"This wasn't a conversation with an average Joe," Estrada said. "This was a conversation with a person that was capable and had the capacity and the intent to commit mass murder. That's pretty chilling."

The affidavit said Marquez called 911 hours after the attack to say his neighbour had used his gun in the shooting, using an expletive to describe Farook.

Marquez then showed up agitated at a hospital emergency room, saying he had downed nine beers and was "involved" in the shooting. He was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward.

Marquez lived next door to Farook, 28, who introduced him to Islam 10 years ago. Marquez told authorities he converted to Islam around age 16 and four years later was spending most of his time at Farook's home, reading, listening to and watching "radical Islamic content" that included al-Qaida instructions on how to make bombs.

Four years ago, Marquez said, he and Farook planned to toss pipe bombs into the cafeteria at Riverside Community College and then shoot people as they fled.

They also planned to throw pipe bombs on a busy section of freeway that has no exits, bringing traffic to a halt and then picking off motorists. Marquez would shoot from a nearby hillside, targeting police, as Farook fired at drivers from the road.

As part of the plan, Marquez bought two assault rifles -- in November 2011 and February 2012. He said he agreed to buy them because "Farook looked Middle Eastern."

Authorities previously said Marquez had legally purchased the guns Farook and Malik used. But the charges allege that Marquez lied by signing paperwork that said the guns were for himself or a family member.

The FBI has said Farook and Malik, 29, were radicalized before they met online in 2013, but the court documents show Farook had turned down the path to violent plots much earlier.

Marquez said he and Farook aborted their plans after authorities interrupted a terror plot in the area in November 2012 that involved four men who wanted to join either the Taliban or al-Qaida fighting U.S. forces overseas.

He said they didn't see much of each other after it unraveled, though he deepened his connection with the Farook family, marrying the Russian sister of the wife of Farook's brother last year.

Prosecutors said it was a sham marriage to help the woman obtain U.S. residency.

According to the affidavit, Marquez was paid $200 per month for the union and said his own mother and brother didn't know about it.

When his mother visited him at the hospital two days later after the shootings, her son again referred to Syed Rizwan Farook by an expletive and said he did not know "he was going to do that," Anderson said in the affidavit. Marquez also said he no longer wanted Farook as a friend.

Melley reported from Los Angeles. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Tami Abdollah in Washington, and Amanda Lee Myers in San Bernardino.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Kushner used personal email for White House messages: lawyer

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, used his personal email account on dozens of occasions to communicate with colleagues in the White House, his lawyer said Sunday. Between January and August, Kushner either received or responded to fewer than 100 emails from White House officials from his private account, attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement that confirmed Kushner's use of a personal address in the first months of the administration. Source
  • Wedding photographer captures groom jumping into river to rescue boy

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ontario couple’s wedding photo session turned into a rescue mission when the groom jumped into a river to save a little boy from drowning. Clayton and Brittany Cook of Cambridge, Ont., had just tied the knot Friday and were posing for their wedding photographer on a park bridge when the groom noticed a child in distress in the water below. Source
  • Wedding photographer captures groom jumping into water to rescue boy

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ontario couple’s wedding photo session turned into a rescue mission when the groom jumped into a river to save a little boy from drowning. Clayton and Brittany Cook of Cambridge, Ont., had just tied the knot Friday and were posing for their wedding photographer on a park bridge when the groom noticed a child in distress in the water below. Source
  • Donald Trump signs proclamation restricting travel from 8 countries

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Citizens of eight countries will face new restrictions on entry to the U.S. under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday. The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18. Source
  • Ex-Michigan prosecutor who paid for sex released from jail

    World News Toronto Sun
    LANSING, Mich. — A man accused of hiring prostitutes hundreds of times during his 20-year career as a Michigan prosecutor has been released from jail. The Lansing State Journal reports Stuart Dunnings III walked out of the Clinton County Jail early Sunday after serving 10 months. Source
  • Prince Harry greets Canadian winners of the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The energy Prince Harry generated at the Invictus Games' opening ceremony concert on Saturday night spilled over to Sunday, when the prince met with dozens of high-achieving Canadian youth at the presentation of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Gold Awards. Source
  • Canada is actually running short of bugs

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    When Jeff Skevington’s parents used to take the family camping in Algonquin Park, they needed to stop the car halfway and buy windshield washer fluid because of all the squished bugs. But Canada is actually running out of bugs Source
  • 1 dead, 7 hurt in Tennessee church shooting [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    NASHVILLE — A masked gunman entered a church in Tennessee on Sunday and opened fire, killing at least one person and injuring seven others before apparently shooting himself, an official said. Don Aaron, spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said the gunman arrived at the parking lot in a blue vehicle as services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in the neighbourhood of Antioch. Source
  • RCMP say they called off pursuit before crash that killed three women

    Canada News CTV News
    LLOYDMINSTER, Sask. -- Mounties say they were chasing a stolen truck that crashed into a minivan and killed three Edmonton women, but add they called off the pursuit long before the deadly collision. RCMP said two women aged 37 and 35, died Friday morning on Highway 16 just east of the Saskatchewan boundary, while a third, aged 53, died a short time later. Source
  • Bautista leads Jays past Yankees in likely final home game

    Canada News CBC News
    Jose Bautista had two hits, drove in one run and scored another to help lift the Blue Jays to a 9-5 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday in what was likely his final home game in a Toronto uniform. Source