Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez: Everything we know about the Chattanooga gunman
The gunman in Thursday’s shooting at two military recruitment centers in Chattanooga was identified by the FBI as Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez.
The FBI said Abdulazeez, 24, killed four people and injured three others. He also died in the shooting, though authorities have not said whether he was killed by his own hand or by police.
Abdulazeez is from Hixson, a northern Chattanooga suburb, according to public records. Law enforcement swarmed across his neighborhood after the shooting, which began around 10.45am ET on Thursday.
The incident began at Lee Highway recruiting center, where Abdulazeez stopped a rented car and fired dozens of rounds at the building.
Then police chased him to the Amnicola Highway recruitment center, nearly seven miles away.
All four of the victims were killed at that location. Their names have not yet been released.
Three people were injured, and were identified by local news as a female Navy sailor, a marine and a male police officer.
A US official told the Associated Presss that Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait, but it remains unclear whether he was a citizen of the US, Kuwait or elsewhere.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga confirmed he graduated in 2012 with a degree in electrical engineering.
He was arrested in April for allegedly driving while intoxicated and was due to appear in court in late July.
FBI special agent in charge Ed Reinhold said that Abdulazeez was in possession of “numerous weapons” but that investigators had “no idea” of his motivations.
“At this point, we don’t have anything that directly ties him to international terrorist organizations,” he said. “There is no indication at this point that anybody else was involved.”
The Chattanooga Times Free Press posted an image from the Red Bank High School yearbook, that they said multiple graduates had sent them. It showed his senior picture and senior quote. “My name causes national security alerts,” the quote reads. “What does yours do?”
A YouTube account tied to his purported email address includes a video of young men cliff jumping near Chattanooga – and his name is in the description line of the uploaded video. The two other videos uploaded to the account are titled “natural hallucinogen 2x (faster and better trip)” and “natural hallucinogen slow motion (stronger and longer trip),” and depict whirring graphics. Aside from that, the user had added videos by Drake and Arctic Monkeys to his favorites list.
The Site Intelligence Group, a jihadi-monitoring company, linked a blog titled “ My Abdulazeez ” to the suspect, but authorities have not confirmed that Abdulazeez is the author. The blog has only two posts, both from 13 July 2015, expounding on Islam, the concept of life being a prison, and what the author saw as myopia of many Muslims.
“Life is short and bitter,” the blog reads. “And the opportunity to submit to Allah may pass you by.”
Hussnain Javid, who attended the high school in a different class, said Abdulazeez had been on the school wrestling team. “He was very outgoing,” Javid said. “Everyone knew of him.”
Javid said he last saw Abdulazeez about a year ago at the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga.
Abdulazeez’s mixed martial arts (MMA) coach, Scott Schrader, told CNN that the suspect’s parents had “come down on him pretty hard” after they saw him strike an opponent in the face. Scharder said Abdulazeez’s father had considered it forbidden by Islam.
The suspect’s high school wrestling coach, Kevin Emily, told the network that Abdulazeez was “very humble” and “a great kid”.
Neighbor Dean McDaniel said he’d known the family for nearly 17 years, and remembered Abdulazeez as an elementary school student and teenager. “He was a good kid,” McDaniel said. “They’re good people. I’ve never had any kind of conflict with them.”
Police took two women away in handcuffs from a property in Abdulazeez’s neighborhood, but Reinhold said that this was common practice and no one was in custody.
US attorney general Loretta Lynch condemned the “cowardly act” in a statement.
“I have directed the FBI to take the lead in the national security investigation of this heinous attack on members of our military,” Lynch said. “The US attorney’s office and department prosecutors are also actively involved.”