FBI: Tennessee shooting suspect has no terror ties

Mourners place flags at a growing memorial in front of the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga. (Reuters)

The FBI said on Thursday it had found nothing that ties a man suspected of gunning down four Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to an international terrorist organization.

At a news conference, the FBI said it was still looking for a motive behind the attack on two military facilities that also left three people wounded. The gunman, identified by federal authorities as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, was also killed.

This April 2015 booking photo released by the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office shows a man identified as Mohammad Youssduf Adbulazeer after being detained for a driving offense. (AP)

This April 2015 booking photo released by the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office shows a man identified as Mohammad Youssduf Adbulazeer after being detained for a driving offense. (AP)



An autopsy would determine the cause of the suspect’s death, Edward Reinhold, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville, Tennessee, division told reporters.

The Department of Defense will decide whether to release the names of the Marines killed, he added.

NBC News reported that Abdulazeez, 24, was a naturalized American who was born in Kuwait.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had threatened to step up violence in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which ends on Friday.

The extremist group, also known as ISIL, claimed responsibility when a gunman in Tunisia opened fire at a popular tourist hotel and killed 37 people in June. On the same day, there was an attack in France and a suicide bombing in Kuwait.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist groups, said that Abdulazeez blogged on Monday that “life is short and bitter” and Muslims should not miss an opportunity to “submit to Allah.” Reuters could not independently verify the blog postings.

The New York Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported that his father had been under investigation several years ago over possible ties to a foreign terrorist organization and had been on a terrorist watch list.

The father was later removed from that list and the investigation did not reveal any information about his son, the Times said.

People who knew him were shocked

According to a resume believed to have been posted online by Abdulazeez, he attended high school in a Chattanooga suburb and graduated from the University of Tennessee with an engineering degree.

“I remember him being very creative. He was a very light minded kind of individual. All his videos were always very unique and entertaining,” said Greg Raymond, 28, who worked with Abdulazeez on a high school television program.

“He was a really calm, smart and cool person who joked around. Like me he wasn’t very popular so we always kind of got along. He seemed like a really normal guy,” Raymond said.

Mary Winter, president of the Colonial Shores Neighborhood Association, said she had known Abdulazeez and his family for more than 10 years and was stunned at the crime.

“We’re all shocked and saddened,” Winter said. “He never caused any trouble. We can’t believe that this happened. We were just planning to have a swim team banquet tonight.”

President Barack Obama offered his condolences to the victims’ families and said officials will be prompt and thorough in getting answers on the shootings.

“It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who have served our country with great valor to be killed in this fashion,” he said in a statement from the Oval Office.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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Last Update: Friday, 17 July 2015 KSA 07:30 - GMT 04:30
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