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California

Shooter ‘wasn’t very popular’ in high school, friend recalls

Syed Farook

Police said that they believe Syed Rizwan Farook, shown, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were the only people directly involved in the shooting, but said the investigation is continuing.

(DMV)

Korey Roseman was scrolling through his Facebook feed when a friend posted a story about a couple who opened fire on a holiday party for county employees in San Bernardino.

The name of one of the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook, had a familiar ring. Then another friend posted Farook’s yearbook picture from La Sierra High School in Riverside, which Roseman attended before moving to Arizona.

Full coverage: San Bernardino shooting | Shooting updates

“It’s kind of chilling seeing his picture on the Internet. That’s exactly how I remember him,” Roseman said. He added that Farook’s involvement in the shooting rampage that killed 14 and injured 21 was “very shocking and surprising. I wouldn’t have guessed that he would be capable of doing that.”

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Roseman, 28, said he and Farook didn’t spend a lot of time together at school, but they lived in the same neighborhood and would gather for weekly basketball games, often in front of Farook’s home.

“He never really opened up to me and he was pretty soft-spoken, but he was a friend,” Roseman said. He said he didn’t keep in touch with Farook after moving away.

Roseman recalled building a fort out of branches with his brother in the front yard of the Farooks’ home on the day the family moved into the neighborhood. He said the landscaping company had cleared trees in the front yard, leaving a tall pile of branches.

“We were making tunnel systems through them,” Roseman said. “The family drove in with their vehicle and we were like ‘crap.’ We hid in the trees until they went in their house and then we took off.”

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The next day, Roseman and other neighborhood kids introduced themselves to Farook and his brother, who were  standing outside their home. He said he never got to know the other family members and didn’t recall ever going inside the house.

Roseman said Farook once mentioned that he was Muslim. But mostly, Roseman said, their conversations were that of 16-year-old boys. They talked about school and day-to-day activities.

He said Farook was viewed as intelligent at school and helped students with their homework.

“He wasn’t very popular,” Roseman said. “He was very nice. He was a cool guy when I knew him.”

zahira.torres@latimes.com

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