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NBC: Ex-neighbor of San Bernardino shooters to face criminal charges


Federal prosecutors will bring criminal charges against a former neighbor who was a longtime friend of one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters, law enforcement officials told NBC News on Thursday.

{mosads}Enrique Marquez, 24, is accused of  buying two assault rifles for Syed Rizwan Farook that ended up being used in the Dec. 2 attack that left 14 dead, the network added.

Officials said Marquez told them he made the purchases three and four years ago as a favor for Farook, so he would not have to go through a background check and be on record as the purchaser, according to the report.

Authorities also said Marquez told the FBI that he and Farook talked about carrying out an attack in 2012 but called it off after other terrorism-related arrests in Southern California, NBC reported. The FBI said agents have found no connection between the recent attack and those arrests.

The charges are expected to be announced at a news conference on Thursday. It is not clear if Marquez has been arrested yet.

Officials said Marquez, who converted to Islam and worshipped at a mosque in Corona for four years, agreed to be interviewed for several days by the FBI without a lawyer, NBC added.

Marquez made a cryptic social media post two days before his Riverside home was raided by authorities: “I’m. Very sorry guys. It was a pleasure.”

He checked himself into a mental health facility in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, according to The Washington Post. Co-workers feared he may have become suicidal.

Law enforcement officials told the Post that Marquez had been drinking heavily before he admitted himself to the UCLA facility.

One of the officials said the FBI is trying to determine whether Marquez was “grandstanding” during the interviews. Agents are trying to corroborate his statements and the account of his relationship with Farook.

Marquez and Farook lived next door when they attended La Sierra High School in Riverside. Neighbors told the Post the two men would spend hours disassembling and repairing cars in the driveway of Farook’s house.

If Marquez knew about the attack in advance and aided in it, he could face charges for conspiracy to commit a terrorist act or conspiracy to commit murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 and injured 21 when they stormed the San Bernardino Regional Inland Center.

The couple was later killed in a shootout with police.

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