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Family Of Chattanooga Shooter Says He Suffered From Depression

This booking photo taken in April and released by the Hamilton County, Tenn., sheriff's office shows a man identified as Mohammod Youssuf Adbulazeez after being detained on suspicion of a driving offense.

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, identified as the gunman who killed five service members at Chattanooga military facilities last week, was suffering from depression, his family says in a statement expressing their "shock, horror, and grief" at the shooting rampage that killed five servicemen.

The statement comes as investigators are reportedly stepping up their investigation into what motivated Abdulazeez, a graduate in engineering from the University of Tennessee, to open fire Thursday on a recruiting center and the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief," the family wrote. "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," the statement, released by a family representative, said.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that authorities are looking into a text message that Abdulazeez reportedly sent to a friend hours before the attack in which he quoted an Islamic verse: "Whoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, then I have declared war against him."

The Times writes:

"At the same time, the bureau is expanding its investigation into a trip the gunman, identified as Mohammod Abdulazeez, made to Jordan in 2014, by dispatching agents to the country to interview Jordanian officials about the gunman's contacts, the law enforcement official said.

"'All indications from the interviews is that there is something different about him after he returned home,' the official said. 'He was different, but it does not appear that he was showing the typical outward signs of someone who was going to lash out violently. It does not appear from the interviews that he was saying a lot of anti-U.S. things to his friends.'"

As we wrote last week, FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold had said early on in the investigation that nothing had been found to directly tie the gunman to an international terrorist organization, but that his father had been investigated for possible ties to terrorism a few years prior.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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