Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Life Details of Tenn. Shooter Emerge, but Motive Elusive

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Life Details of Tenn. Shooter Emerge, but Motive Elusive

Article excerpt

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. * Bits and pieces have emerged over the past few days about Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez's troubled life. But there are two significant pieces of the puzzle missing: Why did he ambush two military sites, killing four Marines and a sailor? And was he propelled to do so by his own demons or at the direction of someone else?

Until Thursday's shooting, Abdulazeez was not on the radar of terrorism investigators. And so, unlike situations where a suspect is known to authorities, investigators did not have a head start. As a result, a portrait of his background, contacts, computer use and travels must be assembled from the ground up.

He blended into everyday life in Chattanooga as a clean-cut high school wrestler who graduated from college with an engineering degree and regularly attended a local mosque.

But he also had a more turbulent side, as evidenced by his arrest for drunken driving after returning from Jordan. He was set to face a judge this month.

Abdulazeez was killed in a shootout with police at a Marine-Navy facility where the slain servicemen were killed. Authorities said the Kuwait-born man, 24, was driving a rented silver Mustang convertible, wore a vest with extra ammunition and wielded at least two long guns either rifles or shotguns and a handgun.

On Monday, yellow police tape still blocked access to it and law enforcement vehicles were nearby with lights flashing.

About seven miles away, in a small strip shopping center, hundreds of people many carrying American flags and some with Confederate battle flags gathered outside the military recruiting office where the rampage began. The windows have since been covered with plywood.

The shooting prompted governors in at least a half-dozen states to authorize National Guardsmen to take up arms to protect recruiting offices and installations. The federal government has so far not issued such a directive, but said security would be reviewed. …

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