The family of Mohammod Abdulazeez, the alleged gunman that was involved in shootings at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, says he “suffered from depression,” which “found its expression in this heinous act of violence,” according to a statement released by a family representative and reported by ABC News.
He was said to be a man with serious mental illness, depressed and conflicted, a devout Muslim who regularly violated his faith by smoking marijuana and drinking heavily, but not anti-American or connected to ISIS. That is the picture the family of 24-year-old Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez has painted for FBI agents trying to learn why he went on a spree of violence last week that resulted in the deaths of five uniformed members of the military in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A family representative said the family has told the FBI there were no outward signs of radicalization but added Abdulazeez “was susceptible to bad influences” and would be affected by watching news accounts of “children being killed in Syria.”
The Abdulazeez family offered sympathies, condolences and prayers to the families and friends of the victims of the shooting Thursday at two separate facilities in which five service members were killed.
“There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief,” the statement said. “The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved. 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.”
“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 statement said.
According to The Independent, the US government was on a heightened state of alert and officials were investigating whether Abdulazeez was inspired by ISIS. The FBI said it has yet to see any evidence Abdulazeez was connected to ISIS or any other terror group.
Reports from Bill Killian, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee revealed that they considered the attack as domestic terrorism and had not yet determined if it had international affiliation. Mr Abdulazeez, was an engineering graduate, and a naturalised American who was born in Kuwait. He lived in Hixson (a town near Chattanooga) and attended Red Bank High School, north of Chattanooga.