Here's What We Know About the Chattanooga Shooter

Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez kept religious blog
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2015 1:15 AM CDT
Updated Jul 17, 2015 6:53 AM CDT
Chad Harris puts his face against a pew as he prays during a prayer vigil at Redemption Point Church for the victims of the Chattanoga shootings.   (Doug Strickland/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)
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(Newser) – From the way his friends describe him, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez was a regular guy from an ordinary suburb—and the last person you'd expect to go on a shooting rampage. The 24-year-old, who was shot dead after allegedly killing four Marines in Chattanooga yesterday, was a "swell" and "unbelievably nice" guy, a friend who wrestled with him at the city's Red Bank High School tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "He was honestly one of the funniest guys I've ever met," the friend says, adding that his family was very religious and the women all "wore the little hoods." Another former Red Bank student tells the Times Free Press that Abdulazeez (whose name has been spelled various ways by different media) was quiet but popular and his family "were your average Chattanooga family." More:

  • Federal officials say Abdulazeez was a Jordanian born in Kuwait who became a naturalized US citizen, reports the New York Times, which describes the subdivision where he grew up as "a movie-set vision of American suburbia."

  • Adbulazeez "was very humble. He always did what I asked him to do; he never gave me any problems," his high school wrestling coach tells the Los Angeles Times. "All the guys seemed to like him. He was not an outsider." After high school, Abdulazeez took part in mixed-martial-arts events.
  • In a Red Bank yearbook, the quote under Abdulazeez's name is: "My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?"
  • According to an online résumé, Abdulazeez became an intern at the Tennessee Valley Authority after graduating from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with an engineering degree in 2012, the LA Times reports.
  • No motive for the attack has been disclosed, and CNN reports that Abdulazeez was not on any databases of suspected terrorists, but he appears to have been influenced by radical Islam: A blog in his name has two posts on religious issues, both made on Monday. One of them describes this world as a "prison" where life is "short and bitter" and "designed to separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire."
  • At the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga mosque, a spokesman tells the New York Times that Abdulazeez's family worships there and he had become a regular visitor in the last few months. The spokesman says the mosque is in mourning for the fallen Marines and today's Eid celebration has been called off.

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