New details have shed some light on the suspected Chattanooga gunman’s state of mind before he allegedly killed five servicemen. He was killed by authorities after the attack.
A representative for the family of Muhammad Abdulazeez told ABC News that the now-deceased young man wrote in his diary as far back as 2013 about having suicidal thoughts and “becoming a martyr” after losing his job due to drug use, both prescription and non-prescription. The family representative also told the network that Abdulazeez had problems with sleeping pills, opioids, painkillers, marijuana and alcohol.
The FBI has not found any connection to any overseas terrorist groups, and Abdualazeez’s family told the bureau during the investigation there were no signs of radicalization. He was, however, reportedly “susceptible to bad influences” and affected by news of “children being killed in Syria.” Abdulazeez also reportedly struggled with being a devout Muslim. ABC News gives further details:
The family representative said Abdulazeez had a number of guns in his house and often used them to go hunting or for target practice with friends at nearby firing ranges. FBI agents recently focused on the Walmart in Hixson, where officials tell ABC News Abdulazeez bought ammunition for his guns on July 11. Two young men, seen with Abdulazeez in the store, are being sought for questioning although they are not believed to be accomplices.
The family representative said Abdulazeez’s family sought, without success, to get him treatment for his mental illness, and to keep him away from a group of friends with whom he would drink and smoke marijuana.
Abdulazeez’s family issued a statement after the murder. “The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved,” it read. “For many years, our son suffered from depression. It grieves us beyond belief to know that his pain found its expression in this heinous act of violence.”
We have cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so, as we understand there are many legitimate questions that need to be answered.
Having said this, now is the time to reflect on the victims and their families, and we feel it would be inappropriate to say anything more other than that we are truly sorry for their loss.
The four Marines who died on scene Thursday were: Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Lance Cpl. Skip Wells and Sgt. Carson Holmquist. Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, an active-duty Navy reservist, died Saturday after sustaining injuries in the attack.
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