More information is emerging about the Chattanooga shooter, 24 year old Mohammod Abdulazeez. He was a young man “susceptible to bad influences,” according to the parents of the killer. In fact, the family claims to have sought medical attention for their son who struggled with mental illness and drug abuse.
During a sweep of his home, FBI agents found a diary of Abdulazeez’s that went as far back as 2013. In it the troubled man outlines his struggles and how he was recently fired from his job for his drug use. This episode caused him to have suicidal thoughts and dreams of martyrdom. However, officials are quick to point out that although Abdulazeez seems to have been generally inspired by jihadists, there seems to be no specific link to ISIS or Al-Qaeda. TV images showing the deaths of Syrian children seemed to have an impact on him.
One official said: “We may never know what his ultimate motivation was.”
In the months leading up to the attack Abdulazeez was dealing with new issues: a 12 hour overnight work shift that lead him to abusing sleeping pills and personal debt that drove him to the brink of bankruptcy. On April 20th, a day many marijuana enthusiasts set aside to celebrate and smoke copious amounts of the drug, Abdulazeez was arrested for DUI. Officers found alcohol and marijuana in his system.
Now agents are turning their attention to a few different leads to see what exact influences went into the killing. One, is Abdulazeez’s rental of a silver Mustang convertible the Tuesday before the shooting. After picking up a friend at his mosque for a 3am “joy ride,” Abdulazeez wasn’t seen again by his family.
Second, on July 11th Abdulazeez, along with 2 friends bought ammo which would be used in the deadly shooting. Abdulazeez and his friends owned several guns and were known to be avid hunters. The friends are being sought for questioning.
Lastly is the 7-month trip he took to Jordan last year. Family officials insist that it had nothing to do with radicalization rather to “get him away from bad influences in the U.S.” His parents claim to have long fought him over the friends he surrounded himself with and the substance abuse they lead him to.
From ABC News:
The gunman who killed five American troops in a Chattanooga shooting spree last week did online research for militant Islamist “guidance” on committing violence that he may have believed would wipe away in the afterlife his sins on earth including drug and alcohol abuse, an arrest and a lost job, officials said on Monday.
The Internet searches were discovered on electronic devices such as his smartphone analyzed over the weekend by the FBI Lab in Quantico, Virginia, several counter-terrorism officials confirmed to ABC News.
But there is no evidence so far that Mohammod Abdulazeez, 24 — whose family insists he was deeply troubled and mentally ill — was inspired by or directed by ISIS to carry out a bloody attack on U.S. military targets of the sort the Syria and Iraq-based terror group has publicly called for over the past year, the officials said.
“I don’t think that there is any evidence it was ISIL-inspired. He may have been seeking some religious guidance to conduct an act. He could readily find that anywhere online,” a senior official briefed on the investigation told ABC News.
Some of Abdulazeez’s friends, who often partied with the young engineering graduate and went shooting together at local ranges, may have known he was seeking answers in his religion but they do not appear to have been aware he was about to take lethal action that he may have become convinced would earn his place in Heaven, the officials said.
“We may never know what his ultimate motivation was,” the senior official added.
Do you think Mohammod Abdulazeez had terrorist influences yet to be discovered? Tell us in the comments below!