Enrique Marquez focus of intrigue and mystery in San Bernardino terrorism probe

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Enrique Marquez who purchased California shooter’s weapons was associated to him by marriage.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Pakistani woman’s role as a shooter in the San Bernardino massacre is raising fears that foreign-born brides who support the Islamic State group could marry Americans to come to the U.S. to carry out extremist missions. Malik, who was born in Pakistan but raised in Saudi Arabia, carried out the atrocity with husband Syed Rizwan Farook during a holiday party for Department of Health workers on December 2.A visitor leaves a message at the makeshift memorial Wednesday December 9, 2015 on Waterman Avenue for those killed and injured during last Wednesday’s mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

San Bernardino plot thickens: ‘Nerdy’ neighbor who bought guns for San Bernardino shooter and may have planned earlier 2012 attack with Farook was also married to his sister-in-law (but she lived with another man) As the FBI probes whether the marriage between Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik was arranged by a terror group, questions have been raised over the union of another couple linked to the killers.Senator Lindsey Graham raised the possibility that the pair could have been brought together by terrorists in Congress today, after it was revealed they were radicalized before they started dating. Experts in jihad, immigration lawyers and former U.S. diplomats say there’s no sign other foreign brides have sought Western marriages to launch attacks, and it’s still not clear if 29-year-old Tashfeen Malik did so.

When Graham put the prospect to FBI Director James Comey, he said: ‘I don’t know the answer to that yet,’ but added that it is ‘a very, very important thing to know’. Regulars said that after a few drinks, Enrique Marquez – who hauled ice, cleaned bathrooms and checked IDs at Morgan’s Tavern – would talk about ‘sleeper cells just waiting’ to attack the United States, but no one took him seriously. Gulzar Ahmad Malik, Tashfeen’s father, spoke to journalists from Saudi Arabia today saying that he is ‘very, very sad’ in the wake of the attacks.

The relationship may have been a sham, however, as Chernykh regularly posted images of herself with another man, Oscar Romero, along with pictures of a girl the pair refer to as their daughter. It was previously believed that Malik, from Pakistan, had become radicalized long before her husband, perhaps dating back to her time at university in 2009 when family members say she became much more conservative and started wearing a full-body veil.

Marquez also revealed this week that he and Farook would build pipe bombs as a hobby, and that if he had built the ones that failed to go off during the December 2 shooting that killed 14, the bombs would have gone off, officials said. While the group currently bars women from taking up arms for combat or other attacks, its commanders are pragmatic and adaptable and could drop their ban at any time, security experts say. “When they see an opportunity to do damage, and the best man for the job is a woman, they will use the woman,” said Sasha Havlicek, a founder of the British-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, whose work includes monitoring the flow of female extremist recruits. As opposed to the terrorist attack in Paris last month, Comey said officials believe Farook and Malik radicalized “in place,” drawing inspiration from international terrorist groups, but not necessarily training or instructions. Farook, 28, a public health inspector, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, used the guns to ambush his colleagues Dec. 2 at what was supposed to be a festive annual meeting of county employees, killing 14 people and wounding 21.

Her future husband, Farook, also became radicalized around this time – though this was before the couple met via the internet, dating for a short time before getting married in 2014. That was the year that four Inland Empire men — residents of Pomona, Ontario, Upland and Riverside — were and the Taliban to kill Americans, although it was not known if that was related to Marquez and Farook calling off their alleged plot.

While Chernykh had not originally intended to stay in America, she found that she liked life in this country – working selling phone cases inside a mall for a kiosk that Tatiana owned. Comey added that his agency believes the pair were inspired by foreign terror organizations, but is still investigating which group they were affiliated with. A religious conservative who lived previously in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Malik joined her American-born husband of less than two years, Syed Farook, on Dec. 2 in donning tactical gear, grabbing assault weapons and slaughtering 14 people at his office holiday party in Southern California. Earlier, a man who came out of the Marquez house, who declined to give his name, said the family had already spoken to the authorities and would not be speaking with the media.

The FBI has labeled the killings a terrorist attack and investigators are also trying to determine if Farook had abandoned plans to launch an attack in 2012, according to two people familiar with the investigation who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. On a subsequent citizenship application, Raheel Farook is shown acting as a guarantor for Marquez, vouching that he had enough money to support his new spouse. At one point the pair lived next door to one-another in Riverside, California, before Farook moved to Redlands, where he was living at the time of the attack, police said. Watch”,’ Nick Rodriguez, a frequent customer at Morgan’s Tavern who had known Marquez for the past two years told the New York Times. ‘We took it as a joke.

The family members added that the first alarm bells began ringing when she returned to Pakistan in 2009 to go to university, and started posting extreme religious messages on Facebook. While Farook had several prominent dating profiles on sites such as Dubaimatrimonial, BestMuslim and iMilap, Malik does not appear as a member on any of these. When you look at the kid and talk to him, no one would take him seriously about that,’ Rodriguez said, adding that Marquez would also speak about wanting to lose weight and join the Navy.

On one of his Russian social media accounts, Romera refers to Chernykh as his wife, while several of her Russian accounts show that she was using his last name. Meanwhile Farook’s family have repeatedly stated that they are ‘shocked’ at the shooting, and say they had no evidence he held radical views before last week. The department will not be releasing any additional information about which homes have which bodies, allowing those families who want to bury their loved ones away from the public eye to do so. Some Pakistan families, however, told The Associated Press they avoided online matchmaking for just that fear. “After the incident in California, we should be extremely careful,” said Munir Anwar, a poet in the deeply conservative town of Liaqatpur, in Malik’s home region of Punjab, Pakistan. Friends of Farook, who attended Mosque with him, agreed – saying he even spoke about ISIS within them an condemned the attack on the Russian jet liner in early November.

Marquez, whose security guard license in California expired last year, had worked at Wal-Mart since May, but has since been fired, spokesman Brian Nick said. The emotional toll the apparently sham union had on Marquez is perhaps another reason he checked himself into a mental health facility the day after the attacks in San Bernardino. According to the news channel, a senior State Department official confirmed that Malik was mostly quizzed on her relationship to Farook, to check the partnership was genuine.

Following his deadly attack, investigators reportedly found multiple photos on Farook’s cell phone depicting Carter High School in the city of Rialto. Dean Jr., a Connecticut-based immigration lawyer who specializes in fiance visas for brides and grooms from abroad, like the visa on which Malik arrived. However, that response is unusually slow for the jihadist group, who usually release video within hours of an attack to praise the ‘lions of the caliphate’ for an attack. A federal official told the Los Angeles Times Thursday that investigators believed Farook asked his friend and relative Marquez to buy the two AR-15s because he was worried that he ‘wouldn’t pass a background check’ if he tried to buy them himself. That has raised suspicions among security circles that the jihadists did not know of Malik and Farook’s plans, and only claimed responsibility after they pledged allegiance.

Does that make sense?’ ‘He said something along the lines of there’s Muslims in our own backyard just ready to go haywire and attack and we didn’t think nothing of it,’ Stone said. According to education officials, it is usual for inspectors to take pictures of food preparation and service areas – but highly irregular for them to take images of the exterior buildings. Marquez began voluntarily speaking to federal authorities after they raided his mother’s house over the weekend, but has yet to be charged with a crime. In the end they scrapped their plans following unrelated FBI arrests of four people accused of trying to travel abroad to take part in jihad, US officials told .

If Malik’s marriage to Farook were arranged by an extremist organization or operative, Graham described that as a “game changer” during a hearing this week in Washington. Tommy Lopez, who said he became friends with Marquez after meeting at a punk rock show seven months ago, said he never talked about his wife and was not religious. Employees at a Walmart Supercenter in Corona, California, 20 minutes by car from Riverside, said Marquez has been working there as an asset protection and customer specialist for about six months. Ashlee Sims, 25, a security guard at the Walmart, on Sunday described Marquez as ‘weird’ and ‘awkward.’ He is quiet, but likes to go out and party, Sims said.

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