Chattanooga shooter suffered from depression

2015-07-19 20:39
Chattanooga Deputy Police Chief David Roddy Denny Jones before an interfaith memorial service for the Tennessee shooting victims in Chattanooga. (Doug Strickland, AP)

Chattanooga Deputy Police Chief David Roddy Denny Jones before an interfaith memorial service for the Tennessee shooting victims in Chattanooga. (Doug Strickland, AP)

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Chattanooga - The family of the man who authorities say killed four Marines and sailor in Chattanooga said in a statement that their son suffered from depression and was not the son they knew.

"There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief," said the statement, provided on Saturday to the Associated Press by a lawyer representing the family of Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.

"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 family added they are co-operating with the investigation.

"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.

In Chattanooga, a city that prides itself on strong ties between people of different faiths, some Muslims feared the community's perception of them had changed after the shooting rampage on Thursday.

Mohsin Ali, a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, said he hoped the local community didn't dissolve into turmoil.

"We, our kids, feel 100% American and Chattanoogan," said the Pakistani-born Ali, who is a child psychiatrist. "Now they are wondering if that is how people still look at them."

As FBI agents served a warrant on the Abdulazeez home on Thursday, two women wearing Islamic head coverings were seen being led away in handcuffs. But FBI agent Jason Pack said Saturday no arrests have been made.

Authorities are looking into the shooting as a terrorism investigation and whether Abdulazeez was inspired or directed by any terrorist organization. They still don't know what motived Abdulazeez.

Blindsided

The president of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga said Abdulazeez's father told him he felt blindsided.

"He told me that he had never seen it coming, and did not see any signs from his son that he would be that way and do something like that," Bassam Issa said.

Meanwhile, governors in at least a half-dozen states ordered Guardsmen to be armed, and Florida Governor Rick Scott moved his state's Guard recruiters from city storefronts to armouries.

Ali said immigrants such as himself owe a debt of gratitude to America and the armed forces which protect it, because they often know first hand what it means to live in countries without personal freedoms or the rule of law.

At a service on Friday night, at Ali's urging, dozens of Muslims received a standing ovation as they stood in support of their city and their nation.

Still, the events of the last few days have left some on edge, particularly the young. The end of Ramadan is usually a time for celebration, but events at the Islamic Center were cancelled after the shootings.

Khadija Aslam, 15, didn't wear her head covering in the car while riding to prayer services after the shootings for fear of attracting attention. Zoha Ahmad, 15, said her family is worried about the possibility of vandalism at their home.

"A lot of people know we live there and that we're Muslims," she said.

Read more on:    muhammad youssef abdulazeez  |  us

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