(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — President Obama is visiting San Bernardino, California, Friday night to meet with family members of the victims in the shooting massacre earlier this month. The president’s visit comes one day after a neighbor and friend of one of the San Bernardino shooters was arrested for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.
Obama and the first lady are expected to visit privately with the families around 8 p.m. in San Bernardino, following the president’s afternoon press conference at the White House and ahead of the first family’s flight to Hawaii.
The visit is closed to press.
Meanwhile, Enrique Marquez, a friend and neighbor of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, was arrested Thursday and charged with “conspiring to provide material support to terrorists” and with making a “straw purchase” of the two rifles that were later used in the San Bernardino attacks.
Marquez is accused of plotting terror attacks in Southern California several years ago with Farook. The earlier planned attacks, which the men didn’t carry out, were allegedly centered around the Riverside Community College, which both Marquez and Farook attended, and specific lanes of a major highway during rush hour, the Department of Justice said Thursday.
The attack this December on San Berardino’s Inland Regional Center left 14 people dead and another 22 injured. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were killed in a shootout with police. The FBI has been investigating the incident as an act of terrorism.
According to authorities, Marquez illegally purchased the two “assault rifles” used in the massacre along with a pair of hand guns. He also allegedly bought smokeless powder to make explosives in 2012 and went to firing ranges in Riverside and Los Angeles to practice.
Marquez and Farook fell out of contact in 2013 after they ceased planning attacks, Marquez allegedly told authorities.
“While there currently is no evidence that Mr. Marquez participated in the Dec. 2, 2015 attack or had advance knowledge of it, his prior purchase of the firearms and ongoing failure to warn authorities about Farook’s intent to commit mass murder had fatal consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California.
Officials also accused Marquez of “defrauding immigration authorities by entering into a sham marriage with a member of Farook’s family.” The marriage in question was Marquez’s marriage to “a member of Farook’s extended family so that she could obtain legal status in the United States,” the Department of Justice press release stated. In return for agreeing to the marriage, Marquez was paid $200 per month.
During a court appearance Thursday, Marquez said that he understood the charges against him. His lawyer did not immediately comment and he did not enter a plea.
Marquez is scheduled for a bail hearing at 2 p.m. Monday, and will be held until then at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, public affairs specialist Laura Eimiller of the FBI told ABC News.
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