The man who opened fire on two military recruiting facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee has been identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Kuwait.
According to numerous reports, Abdulazeez, who lived in nearby Hixson, opened fire on an Army recruiting center located in a Chattanooga strip mall before driving to a Navy and Marine Reserve recruiting center. There, four Marines were killed. A Chattanooga police officer was also injured. Abdulazeez was found dead in the rented silver Mustang convertible he was driving, though it is not yet clear whether he was killed by a bullet from a law enforcement officer or from his own gun.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said during a press conference that the shooting was an “act of domestic terrorism.”
Little is known yet about Abdulazeez. Some pictures have surfaced online showing him at his Dec. 2012 graduation from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A school spokesman confirmed that a student by that name attended the school and majored in electrical engineering.
Abdulazeez was arrested on April 20 and booked into Hamilton County jail for a DUI. His name was incorrectly listed as “Mohammad Youssduf Abdulazeer.”
Abdulazeez was shown in another picture along with several family members. The picture, which appears to have been posted by his sister or a cousin, was posted on May 17.
While it is not yet completely clear what Abdulazeez’s motive was, the target of the shootings and his nationality are strong indicators that it was an act of terrorism. Thursday is also the last day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
The family member who posted the most recent picture of Abdulazeez provided another clue to Abdulazeez’s motive. She recently posted a picture to Facebook in support of Palestine.
That family member also posted a picture referencing a shooting in Chapel Hill, N.C. that occurred February. In that incident, a white man murdered three University of North Carolina students who were Muslim. While the suspect’s wife and neighbors said that the shooting was likely motivated over a parking dispute, Muslim civil rights groups asserted that it was a hate crime.