This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
San Bernardino Shooter Planned To Attack 91 Freeway And Community College
San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook and his friend Enrique Marquez had plans to attack drivers on the 91 freeway during rush hour and students at Riverside Community College, court documents show.On Thursday the federal government filed charges of conspiring to give material support to terrorists against Enrique Marquez, who was arrested earlier that day. Marquez purchased the assault rifles used by Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik in the San Bernardino shooting and, according to a complaint filed a federal court, had previously planned at least two terror attacks with Farook.
As early as 2011, Marquez and Farook were conspiring to use the guns and explosives in two attacks that were never carried out. The Press-Enterprise reports that the two bought explosives and gear and also practiced at local shooting ranges in preparation. In one of the attacks, they would target the library or the cafeteria of Riverside Community College, which they had both attended. In the cafeteria, they would have thrown pipe bombs from the second floor and shot at people as they fled.
They would then escape and move to a location along the 91 freeway, where Farook would throw pipe bombs onto the eastbound lanes during rush hour and the two would gun down fleeing drivers, with Farook walking on the roadway itself and Marquez stationed in a nearby hillside. Marquez would also then be on the lookout for emergency responders, targeting police first.
"Mr. Marquez conspired with Mr. Farook to commit vicious attacks," U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a 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."
The two scrapped the plans after three Inland Empire men were arrested in 2012 for planning on joining the Taliban in Afghanistan, says the FBI.
Prosecutors say there is no evidence that suggested Marquez knew of the attack that was ultimately carried out by Farook and Malik and killed 14 people. The day after the attack, Marquez called 9-1-1 and said he felt suicidal, admitting that Farook used his gun in the attack. He later checked into UCLA-Harbor Medical Center that same day.
According to the L.A. Times, Marquez was also hit with charges of making a false statement in connection with acquisition of firearms and also immigration fraud relating to his marriage to a Russian immigrant.
Marquez was asked by Farook to purchase the rifles in 2011 and 2012, "because his appearance was Caucasian, while Farook looked Middle Eastern" in an effort to not draw any suspicion. He never legally transferred the ownership of the guns to Farook.
His "sham" marriage also came under scrutiny when it was revealed he was married to the sister of Farook's sister-in-law. In exchange for being wed to the woman, previously identified as a Russian immigrant named Mariya Chernykh, Marquez was paid $200 a month by her. The court documents do not allege that the marriage was related to any terrorist activity.
Marquez and Farook were childhood friends and former neighbors. In 2007 Marquez converted to Islam and according to the affidavit, "Shortly thereafter, Farook introduced Marquez to radical Islamic ideology, which included expressing disdain towards Muslims in the U.S. military that killed other Muslims, and discussing the extremist views of the now-deceased imam and Islamic lecturer Anwar al-Aulaqi ('al-Aulaqi')."