San Bernardino Shooter’s Friend’s Purchase of Assault Rifles Probed

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New details emerged Thursday about Enrique Marquez, the man who purchased two of the assault rifles used by the San Bernardino shooters, including that the 24-year-old Riverside man spoke to KTLA in April on an unrelated story.

Enrique Marquez, friend of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, happened to speak to KTLA for an unrelated story on April 2, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)
Enrique Marquez, friend of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, happened to speak to KTLA for an unrelated story on April 2, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

Marquez, who has been cooperating with federal investigators in the case, made the purchases for his friend and neighbor, Syed Farook.

Farook, along with his wife Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and injured 22 others at the Inland Regional Center on Dec. 2.

On Thursday, federal sources told the Los Angele Times that Farook asked Marquez to buy firearms for him so that the former could dodge a background check. The purchases were made around the time that officials said Farook was "radicalized."

In November 2014, Marquez married Farook’s sister-in-law’s sister — Mariya Chernykh — in a marriage that was under investigation, the Times reported Wednesday. Chernykh’s sister was married to Farook’s older brother, the Times said. Both sisters are from Russia, the newspaper reported.

A bespectacled cycling enthusiast who reportedly wanted to join the U.S. Navy, Marquez converted to Islam several years ago and attended the same mosque as other members of the Farook family, but members of the Islamic center he attended said his presence was infrequent, the Times reported.

On Thursday, Marquez’s mother spoke off camera to news media, and said her son had been interviewed by KTLA in spring.

In April, Marquez spoke to the KTLA’s Rick Chambers for a story about his friend’s dog being bitten by a rattlesnake during a hike Jurupa Hills. Marquez said he ran for the car and got help for the dog.

Marquez's mother, Armida Chacon, tearfully told reporters outside her home that she had no knowledge of her son's involvement in events leading up to the shooting.

"He was a good person. How would I know? I didn't know," Chacon said, adding that she has not been interviewed by investigators.

"He was a good young man. Whatever I asked him to do he would do. He watched over his brothers. He helped me a lot. He was my right hand around the house," she said.

"I want to be left in peace. When I am ready, I will sit down and talk to you. My life changed since Wednesday," Chacon said. "My son is a good person. A good person. The rest, I don't know how it happened. I want to see him."

Marquez is a security guard at Wal-Mart. He lived next to Farook on Tomlinson Avenue in Riverside, and neighbors said the two young men worked on their cars together.

He told the FBI he and Farook in 2012 planned an attack in California but abandoned their plan after four men were arrested for attempting to travel to Afghanistan to get training from the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Those four men have been convicted of providing material support to terrorism, and were not plotting an attack in the U.S., said David Bowdich of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office.

Bowdich has refused to provide details about Marquez.

"I’m not going to address anything to do with Mr. Marquez at this point," Bowdich said at a news conference in San Bernardino Thursday afternoon.

Officials cautioned that Marquez's claim about a 2012 attack could turn out to be false and an attempt to deflect his role in helping buy weapons Farook used, CNN reported.

A federal investigation found that Marquez purchased the two AR-15 assault rifles that were used by Farook and Malik, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Monday.

Marquez gave the firearms to Farook but never reported the ownership transfer, officials told CNN. They were purchased in 2011 and 2012.

Marquez reportedly checked himself into a mental health facility in Long Beach after the attack.

He has waived his Miranda rights, cooperated with investigators and provided information, according to the officials. He has not been charged and has not spoken to news media since the shootings.

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