Federal authorities have arrested a man who investigators say supplied guns to the married couple who killed 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino.
Enrique Marquez, a friend and former neighbor of Syed Rizwan Farook, who carried out the Dec. 2 attack with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, was arrested on criminal charges Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The specific charges against Marquez were not immediately known. U.S. prosecutors were considering filing firearms charges against Marquez, with state gun charges also possible, one of the government sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Marquez, 24, who had checked himself into a Los Angeles-area psychiatric facility shortly after the shootings, had several connections to Farook and Malik and quickly became a key figure in the investigation of the shootings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his home and questioned him for several days.
During the investigation, a law enforcement source said Marquez and Farook apparently had plotted some sort of attack around 2012, but abandoned the idea. Marquez, who had known Farook since childhood, legally purchased the two AR-15 assault-style rifles that the couple used in their attack on a holiday party of Farook's co-workers before they were killed in a shootout with police a few hours later.
Marquez, who had worked at Walmart and at a bar recently, also is related to Farook's family by marriage. His wife and the wife of Farook's older brother are sisters.
The San Bernardino attack, which also left 21 people wounded, has stirred concerns among Americans about national security and the reach of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), becoming an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign. The attack came a few weeks after gunmen and suicide bombers affiliated with ISIL, which has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq, killed 130 in a series of coordinated attacks in Paris.
But despite earlier reports, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday there was no evidence that the San Bernardino attackers had been part of any terrorist cell, nor had the two made any contact with overseas armed groups or expressed support for ISIL online. Previous reports that said Malik had pledged allegiance to ISIL’s leader in a social media post.
The couple did express support for a violent ideology in their private communications, Comey said.
The San Bernardino attack was the worst incident of gun violence in the U.S. since the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit San Bernardino, where he will meet with the families of victims privately, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday during a press briefing.
Al Jazeera and Reuters