FBI: San Bernardino Shooter Abandoned Attack on Community College

The planned attack on the school involved pipe bombs and automatic weapons.

One of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre had planned a terrorist attack on Riverside Community College with his neighbor in 2012.

According to a federal affidavit released Dec. 17, Syed Rizwan Farook and Enrique Marquez created a detailed terrorist plot against the college before abruptly abandoning the plan at the end of 2012.

The federal charges brought against Marquez, who was next door neighbors with Syed Rizwan Farook, revealed a plethora of frightening new details about the San Bernardino attack and two other terrorist plots that were never acted on.

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The plot against the Riverside, California community college was supposed to begin with the two men throwing pipe bombs into the cafeteria from a balcony on the second floor. From there they planned to shoot at students as they fled.

One of the reasons the community college may have been targeted was both men’s familiarity with the school. Marquez attended Riverside from the fall of 2009 to the winter term of 2011, while Farook was registered as a student there from 2004 to 2010, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Adding to the alarming revelations is the fact that the plan was apparently well thought out. Marquez was able to draw a diagram of the planned attack for authorities after they brought him in for questioning.

“Marquez admitted that the attacks were designed to maximize the number of casualties that could be inflicted,” the affidavit said.

Riverside’s library was also a considered target, according to cnn.com. In addition, the men planned an attack on a section of the 91 Freeway in California that also included pipe bombs and automatic weapons.

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As the two men prepared for the attack, Marquez bought a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 sport rifle for $750 on Nov. 14, 2011. Marquez bought a DPMS model A-15 rifle in February the next year for a similar price. The affidavit states that the men decided Marquez should purchase the weapons because it would be less suspicious, although Farook gave Marquez money for the weapons.

Marquez claims he stopped plotting the attacks with Farook in 2012 for several reasons, including the arrest of three men in the area for suspected terrorist plotting in November 2012.

Marquez also said his relationship with Farook deteriorated around that time, despite the fact that he married Farook’s older brother’s wife’s sister in an apparent “sham marriage.” Marquez was paid $200 a month to stay married to her so she could retain legal status.

The two weapons purchased by Marquez in 2011 were used to carry out the attack on San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Medical Center this month, although there’s no record of any official transfer of ownership from Marquez to Farook or his wife. Marquez claims he left his weapons in Farook’s home for storage.

A day after the San Bernardino attack, Marquez called 911 and told the operator he was thinking of killing himself. When the operator asked why, Marquez responded “I don’t know. My neighbor. He did the San Bernardino shooting. They can trace all the guns back to me.” After the phone call Marquez was admitted to the UCLA-Harbor Medical Center’s psychiatric ward.

Marquez has been charged with conspiring with Farook to commit crimes of terrorism, unlawfully purchasing two assault rifles used in the Dec. 2 attack and defrauding immigration. The charges carry a maximum pentalty of 15 years.

Marquez, who had been a state-licensed security guard until his license expires last year, repeatedly waived his right to an attorney during ten days of questioning by federal authorities. A bail hearing has been set for Monday.

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About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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