California shooting gun buyer and gunman linked by marriage
Published 10/12/2015 | 18:06
The gunman who killed his co-workers in San Bernardino, California, and the friend who bought the assault rifles used in the shooting were related through marriage and may have plotted an attack together three years ago.
New revelations from officials and public records show a much deeper connection between Syed Rizwan Farook and Enrique Marquez than was previously disclosed. Mr Marquez has not been charged with a crime.
Mr Marquez purchased high-powered weapons at least three years ago that Farook and his wife used to open fire on a holiday gathering of Farook's fellow health inspectors on December 2, killing 14 people.
The FBI has said that Farook's wife declared her allegiance to the Islamic State group in a Facebook posting shortly before the attack.
Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, were killed hours later in a shoot-out with police, leaving behind a six-month-old daughter.
FBI director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the two shooters were radicalised well before Malik came to the US on a fiancee visa and they had discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013.
Investigators are trying to determine if Farook's path toward extremism pre-dated that time and whether it led to plans to launch an attack in 2012.
Mr Marquez and Farook "were plotting an actual attack" that year, including buying weapons, but became apprehensive and shelved the plan because of law enforcement activity and arrests in the area, said Idaho Senator Jim Risch, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr Marquez, 24, spoke with federal authorities after they raided his mother's house over the weekend. He and Farook were friends for years and became family last year with a sister-in-law in common.
The two men were listed as witnesses on the marriage licence when Farook's brother, Raheel, wed a Russian woman in 2011.
After the shooting, Mr Marquez called his mother to say he was safe but that he would not be coming home, neighbour Lorena Aguirre said. He later checked into a mental health facility. It is unclear where he is now.
Mr Marquez and his wife listed their address on their marriage licence at the same Corona home where Raheel and Tatiana Farook live.
The FBI has not tied any Farook family members to the San Bernardino attack.