Court indicts Marquez in attack

After nearly two months since the terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino that claimed the lives of 14 people and injured 22 others, a federal grand jury indicted Enrique Marquez, a friend and neighbor of San Bernardino terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, Dec. 30, on five felony counts.

The felony counts include the provision of two of the assault rifles used in the attack and conspiring to support a terrorist attack. The FBI is also currently investigating more details about the four hours it took Farook and Malik to orchestrate the shooting.

Marquez, in addition to his charges for allegedly purchasing the guns, also allegedly made plans with Farook in 2011 and 2012 to carry out a bombing and shooting at Riverside City College and the 91 freeway after being radicalized by Farook, according to the FBI.

Marquez pled not guilty Jan. 6 in Riverside federal court. The jury trial date is set for Feb. 23, and Marquez could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted, according to an article released by NBC Los Angeles.

On Dec. 2, Farook and his wife Malik entered the medical center with rifles and opened fire at the staff training event-turned-Christmas party.

They attempted to set off a bomb and managed to get away in an SUV. San Bernardino police pursued and killed both of them in a final shootout.

The FBI launched an official investigation into the attack Dec. 3, gathering details, collecting evidence and conducting interviews, all under the umbrella of a counter-terrorism initiative.

Officials are still seeking answers as to the motives of Farook and Malik, investigating their personal lives and whether or not they shared a tie with jihadists or ISIS.

“Both al Qaeda and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people, because in today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage,” President Barack Obama said Jan. 12 during his final State of the Union address.

Public officials from San Bernardino, including County Sheriff John McMahon and Police Chief Jarrod Burguan, attended the address as guests of Redlands Rep. Pete Aguilar. They were joined by a small number of other Inland Empire residents, including Ryan Reyes of Rialto, partner of victim Larry Kaufman, who was personally invited by First Lady Michelle Obama.

While President Obama did mention the dangers of terrorism in his address, his failure to specifically mention the San Bernardino attack was met with widespread surprise from the media and listeners around the country, including McMahon himself.

“However, he did talk about terrorism briefly,” McMahon said in a conference call with reporters after the speech. “I think there’s at least an acknowledgement on his behalf that terrorism is an issue for us.”

The president’s words come on the heels of a public appeal by the FBI in which they asked for any information regarding 18 minutes of lost time during the four hours it took Farook and Malik to conduct the second-deadliest mass shooting in California history.

“So why is that 18 minutes so important?” said David Bowdich, head of the FBI office in Los Angeles, during the news conference in which he announced the appeal. “It’s important because we want to know whether they stopped at any locations … whether they made contact with anyone.”

About Bekka Wiedenmeyer

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