San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook (Farooq) aborted an earlier attack plan according to information received in the course of investigations into Enrique Marquez. Marquez, former neighbor and childhood friend of Farook, is reportedly cooperating with the FBI and has not been named as a suspect but has been identified as the purchaser of two AR-15 rifles used in the deadly shooting.
Described as an important witness who is providing information to investigators, Marquez last year married Mariya Chernykh, sister to the wife of Syed Raheel Farook, the killer’s brother. Marquez has not been charged with any crime in connection with the massacre last week. He was in the process of converting to Islam and began using an Islamic name some time ago which made it difficult to contact him, according to authorities. Marquez checked into a Los Angeles psychiatric facility after the shooting last week.
CNN reports that Farook and another individual may have conspired to carry out an attack in 2012 but the pair scrapped the plan after a series of terror-related arrests in Southern California at the time.
The House of Representative’s committee on Homeland Security revealed that at least 16 Southern California residents have been tied to Islamic terrorism since 2001.
Further investigation into the deadly Islamist reveals a bank loan that Farook took out in November for $28,500, roughly half of which was given to Farook’s mother, one official said. Investigators believe that the money was not provided by any terror organization or supporter of terror in order to enable Farook and Malik’s attack on the Inland Regional Center. The money does however suggest that the attack was premeditated and not a random reaction to a disagreement at the holiday party.
Tim Clemente, a former FBI counter-terrorism agent said, “What it indicates is he was financing this operation or his life or his afterlife for his child and mother, using what is now wire fraud and bank fraud, so it’s just two more additional charges that the FBI will be looking at.”
Investigators are looking into the family of Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, who they believe was radicalized before she came into the United States in July, 2014 as Farook’s wife. A law enforcement official remarked that family ties are the primary way jihadist groups recruit new members.
Federal law enforcement officials said that Malik pledged allegiance to an Islamic State leader on Facebook shortly before the attack in San Bernardino last week. The shooting marks the first Islamic-terrorist attack in Southern California; however, several recent Islamic terror activities have been reported in the region.
Pakistani by birth, Malik studied pharmacy at a university there. She lived at home until 2014 when she married and moved to the U.S. with Farook. Intelligence authorities in Pakistan raided Malik’s family home in Multan, about 220 miles southwest of Lahore. Pakistani intelligence found the home padlocked and chained shut but entered the home to find religious instruction books, audio CDs with Quran readings and other documents.
A source close to the case said that a man believed to be Farook practiced with an AR-15 at the Magnum Shooting Range in Riverside, California, on the Sunday and Monday before the massacre. Instructor, John Galleta, said Farook presented proper ID and acted “normal” at the gun range.
While it is possible that Malik and Farook planned and executed the entire event without the influence of ISIS leaders, officials are working to determine if the two ever met with or took orders from terror factions outside the U.S.