US authorities are investigating travel to the Middle East by the suspect in the fatal shootings of four Marines in Tennessee, including at least one trip to Jordan and possibly one to Yemen, a source close to the probe said on Friday.
Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, who the FBI identified as the shooter, was shot to death in a rampage on Thursday at two military facilities in Chattanooga. The suspect, seen driving an open-top Ford Mustang, sprayed gunfire at a joint military recruiting center in a strip mall, riddling the glass facade with bullet holes, then drove to a Naval Reserve Center about 6 miles away, where he killed the four Marines before he died in a firefight with police. The shooting, which comes at a time when US military and law enforcement authorities are increasingly concerned about the threat ‘lone wolves’ pose to domestic targets, also injured three people, including a sailor who was critically wounded.
Investigators trying to determine whether the suspect had any contact with militants or militant groups have no evidence so far that he did, the US government source told Reuters. US law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether he was inspired by Islamic State or similar extremists. Islamic State had threatened to step up violence in the holy fasting month of Ramazan, which ends on Friday evening.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2015.