Odisha News Insight

US jury indicts friend of Pakistani-origin California killers

San BernardinoWashington, Dec 31: A longtime friend of Syed Rizwan Farook, who supplied the Pakistani origin gunman with two assault rifles used in carrying out the massacre in San Bernardino, California, has been indicted by a US grand jury.

US-born Farook along with his Pakistani-origin wife Tashfeen Malik opened fire on a crowd at the Inland Resource Centre in San Bernardino on Dec 2, killing 14 people. They both were killed in a shootout with police hours after the massacre.

Enrique Marquez Jr., 24, was charged with conspiring with Farook to plan terror attacks in 2011 and 2012, but he has not been charged with the San Bernardino massacre, NBC reported.

Prosecutors have said there is no evidence Marquez knew about the San Bernardino attack, but Marquez is accused of buying two of the guns that were used in the shooting rampage.

Investigators are treating the shooting as an act of terrorism, and have said both Farook and his wife had been radicalised for some time, before they met and were married in Saudi Arabia.

Marquez is charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists; two counts of making a false statement regarding the guns; and one count each of marriage fraud and making false statements in relation to an alleged sham marriage to a distant relative of Farook’s.

“Marquez’s extensive plotting with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012, and his purchase of explosive powder and two firearms, provided the foundation for the murders that occurred this month,” US Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement.

According a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) affidavit accompanying the charges, Marquez allegedly planned with Farook in 2011 to carry out a pipe bomb and shooting attack at Riverside College, where they both were students. The attack was, however, never carried out.

The FBI also said in the affidavit that in addition to the weapons, Marquez is believed to have bought explosive material which was then later found in a pipe bomb recovered at the scene of the San Bernardino attack.  (IANS)

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