Gun buyer arrested: San Bernardino Neighbor

Published: December 18, 2015

Gun buyer arrested: San Bernardino Neighbor, Enrique Marquez, who supplied the assault rifles used to kill 14 people in a massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., this month, was arrested Thursday and charged with crimes including conspiring to support terrorists. Court papers show that he and one of the attackers had steeped themselves for years in radical and violent Islamist propaganda, including the teachings of the extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and bomb-making techniques from an Al Qaeda magazine.

Mr. Marquez, 24, has told investigators that he and an attacker, his longtime friend and neighbor, Syed Rizwan Farook, had been discussing radical Islam since 2007. They made plans in 2011 and 2012 to launch deadly attacks on the college they had attended and on a busy California freeway.

Mr. Marquez bought not only the guns used in the San Bernardino shooting but also the smokeless powder that Mr. Farook used to build pipe bombs, according to documents filed in Federal District Court here on Thursday.

The court papers filed on Thursday offered the first picture of how Mr. Farook, an American-born Muslim whose parents are from Pakistan, became radicalized – long before the rise of the Islamic State – and who his influences were.

The documents offer previously unreported details about his actions and attitudes, including his disdain for American Muslims who went into the military and killed other Muslims, along with the specifics of the attacks he and Mr. Marquez had plotted and the weaponry they amassed. They paint a vivid picture of Mr. Farook’s efforts to radicalize Mr. Marquez, urging him to listen to speeches by a Qaeda leader and read a magazine published by a Qaeda affiliate that provided bomb-building instructions.

In 2012, Mr. Marquez got cold feet, spooked by the arrests of some local men for plotting jihad. Two years later, Mr. Farook met his wife, Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani whom he brought to the United States and with whom he carried out the attack.

On Dec. 2, Mr. Farook and Ms. Malik stormed a meeting of Mr. Farook’s co-workers at the San Bernardino County health department, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others. They died later that day in a gun battle with the police, who homed in on the rented sport utility vehicle they were driving after they failed to yield.

The couple appears to have had no direct contact with any terrorist groups, once again raising the specter of domestic extremists who, inspired by those groups, become radicalized on their own without attracting the attention of law enforcement.

The criminal complaint says that when the shootings took place, Mr. Marquez was at work as a security guard at a Walmart. He also sometimes worked at a bar, doing odd jobs.

Mr. Marquez appeared in court Thursday afternoon wearing a beige T-shirt, black pants, handcuffs, shackles and a chain around his waist. A judge read him the charges, and he was told to return on Monday for a bail hearing. An arraignment was scheduled for Jan. 6, when he is expected to enter a plea.

The information in the complaint came largely from Mr. Marquez. Law enforcement officials say that Mr. Marquez spent 11 days telling them what he knew, each day signing a waiver of his right to remain silent and his right to have a lawyer there. Investigators said that a clearly distraught Mr. Marquez almost immediately confessed his connection to the crimes to a 911 operator and to his mother, and spent a few days in a hospital psychiatric ward before talking with the F.B.I.

The authorities said that weeks before the massacre, Mr. Marquez wrote on Facebook that “my life turned ridiculous.” When a friend responded, “I think everyone leads multiple lives,” Mr. Marquez replied, “Involved in terrorist plots, drugs, antisocial behavior, marriage, might go to prison for fraud, etc.”

Early on the day after the shooting, he called 911 and said, “My neighbor. He did the San Bernardino shooting.” Later during that call, he said that Mr. Farook “used my gun in the shooting,” and “they can trace all the guns back to me.”

Later that day, Dec. 3, he entered the emergency room of Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center in Torrance, some 60 miles west of his home, apparently drunk and upset, telling doctors that he had just drunk nine beers. He was placed in the psychiatric ward and held involuntarily. The next day, his mother visited, and the F.B.I. said she later told investigators that Mr. Marquez had admitted to buying the guns for Mr. Farook.

In about 2004, when Mr. Marquez was about 13, his family moved to Riverside, where he fell under the sway of Mr. Farook, a neighbor who was a few years older, and exposed him to Islam; around 2007, “Farook introduced Marquez to radical Islamic ideology,” an F.B.I. agent, Joel T. Anderson, wrote in an affidavit filed with the charges. Mr. Marquez also converted to Islam that year.

In 2010 and 2011, at his friend’s urging, Mr. Marquez read jihadist materials and spent hours listening to the recorded lectures of Mr. Awlaki, the American-born preacher. Mr. Awlaki was accused of involvement in several terrorist plots, was described as a primary recruiter for Al Qaeda, and was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

Discussing a period of time in 2011, Agent Anderson wrote, “Marquez spent most of his time at Farook’s residence, where he read, listened to lectures and watched videos involving radical Islamic content,” including videos from the Shabab, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia. They looked at Inspire, the official magazine of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen – Mr. Farook even spoke of going to that country to join the group – and read the works of clerics like Abdullah Azzam, a founder of Al Qaeda, who was killed in 1989.

The court documents state that Mr. Marquez had no direct role in the slaughter at a holiday lunch for Mr. Farook’s co-workers at the health department, but that he admitted to buying, in 2011 and 2012, the two assault rifles Mr. Farook and Ms. Malik used in the attack.

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