Chattanooga shooter researched martyrdom on Internet, official says

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Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire on a military recruiting center and a Navy operations support center on Thursday, July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee killing four Marines and a Navy sailor. Abdulazeez was later killed during a gunfight with law enforcement. This is a mugshot from his arrest for DUI in April 20, 2015.

CHATTANOOGA– Shooter Mohammad Abdulazeez conducted Internet searches on martyrdom as recently as a day before his shooting rampage took the lives of five service members in Tennessee, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

The FBI is seeking to interview anyone with whom Abdulazeez may have had contact in the 48 to 72 hours before Thursday’s shootings, the official said.

As the country mourns the deaths of the service members, investigators in both the United States and Jordan are trying to learn what prompted the attack.

Abdulazeez first shot up a military recruiting center at a Chattanooga strip mall, then drove to a local Navy operations support center and launched another attack, killing four Marines and a sailor. The gunman died in a gunfight with law enforcement.

Abdulazeez told a friend that ISIS was “doing wrong” and “it was a stupid group and it was completely against Islam,” the friend told CNN on Monday.

The friend, James Petty, also said that Abdulazeez taught him how to shoot an AR-15 assault rifle and that the two would practice in the woods.

The revelations about the gunman come as sources told CNN that writings uncovered by investigators indicated Abdulazeez was displeased with the U.S. government, particularly its war on terror.

The writings are not thought to be recent — some are more than a year old, predating a much-publicized trip to Jordan — and should not be considered a diary of any sort, according to a person familiar with the family’s interviews with investigators and a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

The writings also include other anti-U.S. sentiments and are consistent with someone who is having suicidal thoughts, the sources said.

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