Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 10
Enrique Marquez poses in a profile picture he posted on Facebook. Marquez checked himself into a mental health facility following the San Bernardino attacks, in which two of Marquez’s friends killed 14 people using assault rifles that he had purchased. Enrique Marquez / Facebook Screenshot

Details of Enrique Marquez’s relationship to the killer couple who carried out the San Bernardino shootings are still coming to light. Officials say they are fact-checking Marquez’s claim that he helped plan a terrorist attack with one of the shooters in 2012, only to abandon the assault. Marquez checked into a mental health clinic shortly after the 2015 attack that killed 14 people. Two guns registered to Marquez were used by the perpetrators of the attack, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik in what officials have described as a religiously-inspired workplace murder spree.

At a minimum, Marquez could be charged with an illegal weapons transfer, as gun sales in California are supposed to go through a licensed dealer, NPR reports. But Marquez wasn’t just Farook and Malik’s gun buyer. He was also their friend, neighbor and in-law.

Marquez told officials that he planned a shooting spree with Farook in 2012, but that they got cold feet after a series of terrorism-related arrests were carried out in the area, NPR reports. This was long before the self-proclaimed “Caliphate” was declared by the self-styled Islamic State.

Media reports portray Marquez as a bit of a lost soul. In a few short years, he ezperimented with various lifestyle changes. He tried to lose enough weight to join the Navy. He converted to Islam. He married Mariya Chernykh, the sister of Farook’s sister-in-law, in what appears to be a union of immigration convenience (they never cohabitated, and friends say the relationship was distant.)

"He's never done anything mean,” Viviana Ramirez, who identified herself as a friend of Marquez, told the LA Times. “A lot of newspapers call me and want me to talk bad about him," she said. "He is a really good person," Ramirez said.

It’s unclear how much Marquez may have enabled the San Bernardino killers to do what they did, but if his testimony to investigators is credible, he might prove essential in explaining how and why they did it.

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