Breaking News Emails
The family of a man who allegedly fatally shot four Marines and a Navy sailor in an attack on military facilities in Chattanooga this week on Saturday expressed their condolences to the victims and said their son suffered from depression.
"There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief. The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved," the family of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez said in a statement Saturday.
"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," said the statement, which was distributed by a representative of the family.
Authorities have not yet determined the motive behind Thursday’s deadly attack, in which the 24-year-old allegedly sprayed a Marine recruiting office with gunfire before driving to a reserve center where he fatally shot the Marines and wounded the Navy sailor before he was killed in a shootout with police.
The wounded sailor, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26, died of his injuries on Saturday.
"We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the honorable servicemembers and police officers who were victims of the shooting our son committed," the statement said, adding that they have cooperated with law enforcement.
The Marines at the recruiting center were not armed, as per policy. The governors of six states have authorized the National Guard to allow full-time military members to be armed while at military facilities, over fears of similar attacks.
Separately, court documents from a 2009 divorce filing suggest Abdulazeez may have been beaten by his father.
His mother accused her husband, Youssuf Saed Abdulazeez, of beating her and the children, and alleged he planned to marry a second wife "as permitted under certain circumstances under Islamic law."
The claims were allegations raised during the preliminary proceedings of a divorce. The couple remained together. There is no indication Youssuf Saed Abdulazeez ever admitted to any wrongdoing, and he was never charged with any crime.
The owner of a now-defunct gym where Abdulazeez trained in mixed-martial arts shortly after high school, until his parents pulled him out, said Abdulazeez “seemed like a really good kid.”
"Something must have changed as he grew into an adult," Jesse Grun told NBC News earlier.