Arrested brother of San Bernardino shooter is decorated Navy veteran
Syed Raheel Farook, a Navy veteran and brother of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook; along with his wife, Tatiana Farook; and her sister Mariya Chernykh were arrested Thursday and charged in a five-count indictment that focuses on allegations of a fraudulent marriage.
The indictment marks the latest phase in the FBI investigation of the San Bernardino shooting, in which 14 people were killed. The massacre was the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
The marriage at the center of the current case is between Chernykh and Enrique Marquez Jr., who has been charged with providing weapons used in the deadly Dec. 2 attack at the Inland Regional Center.
What do we know about Syed Raheel Farook?
The Times profiled him last year, with friends saying he was very different from his younger brother.
Friends said Raheel Farook was the extrovert — loud and sociable with an air of nonchalance. Acquaintances said he preferred to walk a casual line when it came to religion. He told people he “wasn’t into Islam,” dated a non-Muslim girl, drank alcohol freely and showed up at a local mosque primarily to please his family.
After graduating from La Sierra High School in Riverside, he joined the Navy and received medals for his service in the “Global War on Terrorism.”
What do we know about the family?
The Farook family came from modest means. Pakistani immigrants, the parents made their way to Chicago, where Syed Rizwan Syed Rizwan Farook was born. After moving to the Inland Empire, the father worked as a truck driver, while the mother became a clerk at Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center.
Neighbors recall the family keeping chickens, roosters and goats on their property. While raising four children, the couple declared bankruptcy in 2002.
Life at home was turbulent. In court records, mother Rafia Farook detailed a violent marital history in which her children often had to intervene.
In 2006 divorce filings, she said her husband of 24 years was physically and verbally abusive. She referred to him as a negligent alcoholic and said his hostility had forced her and the children to move out.
Later, in multiple requests for domestic-violence protection, the mother detailed the mistreatment she said she encountered, which her children witnessed: Her husband — also named Syed — had dropped a TV on her while he was intoxicated. Another time, he pushed her toward a car. After a drunken slumber, he shouted expletives and threw dishes in the kitchen.
“Inside the house he tried to hit me. My daughter came in between to save me,” she said about one incident.
She also said her husband was suicidal and described a February 2008 incident in which he threatened to kill himself. She called her husband’s brother in Chicago, who notified local police. They alerted Riverside authorities, who arrived at the home. Her husband was placed in a county hospital for a 72-hour observation period, she said.
Wasn’t there an incident late last year?
In the weeks after the San Bernardino shooting, the Riverside County district attorney’s office declined to file domestic violence charges against Raheel Farook. Police had asked prosecutors to consider filing a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.
The allegation stemmed from a Dec. 5 incident in which officers came to Farook’s home in Corona after an unidentified woman reported a domestic disturbance.
He will appear in court at 2 p.m.
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