San Bernardino gunman’s terrifying plot to bomb, shoot freeway motorists revealed in court records


Four years before he launched the San Bernardino massacre, Syed Rizwan Farook and his friend Enrique Marquez hatched an elaborate plot to attack Riverside City College and the 91 Freeway, according to charges filed Thursday by federal prosecutors.

Farook and Marquez, prosecutors alleged, had purchased weapons and explosives for the attacks.

Here’s what authorities say they planned to do, based on the complaint filed against Marquez in Riverside federal court on Thursday:



An earlier version of this story included an incorrect reference to Marquez as “Martinez.”


The records show the pair planned to throw pipe bombs into the college cafeteria area from an “elevated position on the second floor.”

They planned to determine where to throw the bombs “for maximum casualties.”

Their plan was to then escape to conduct a follow up attack at another location.


The pair allegedly planned to target a location on the 91 Freeway during the afternoon rush hour.

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The complaint does not specify the exact location but said the area lacked exits, which the pair believed would increase the number of targets. Marquez admitted to authorities that he would set up a position in the hills south of the freeway as Farook would throw pipe bombs into the eastbound lanes to stop traffic.


Farook would then move among the stopped vehicles, shooting motorists. Marquez said his plan was to shoot at stopped vehicles from the hill and watch for approaching police and emergency responders. His priority, he said, was to shoot at police before opening fire on medical personnel.

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The document said Marquez stopped plotting the attack in 2012 for several reasons, including the arrest of a group of men in Chino in an unrelated terrorism case.


Marquez is not accused of taking part in the San Bernardino shooting, which killed 14 and was carried out by Farook and his wife.

Closed circuit television from Marquez’s employer showed he was working at the time of the Dec. 2 attack.


Prosecutors say that hours after the shooting, Marquez called 911 to say Farook had used his gun in the attack. He claimed during the call that he had given Farook the gun “for safe storage.”

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