- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015
Family spokesman: Mental issues dogged shooter who killed 5

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A Kuwait-born man who shot and killed five service members in Tennessee suffered from depression since his early teen years and also fought drug and alcohol abuse, spending time in Jordan last year to help him clean himself up, a family spokesman said Sunday.

The representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid unwanted publicity, said relatives of 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez believe those personal struggles are at the heart of last week’s killings at a pair of military sites in Chattanooga.

“They do not know of anything else to explain it,” said the representative, who has been involved with the family since the shootings.

The claim fits a pattern of behavior by Abdulazeez that includes a drunken driving arrest earlier this year and the loss of a job over a failed drug test.

Abdulazeez had spent several months in Jordan last year under a mutual agreement with his parents to help him get away from drugs, alcohol and a group of friends who relatives considered a bad influence, the spokesman said

Counterterrorism investigators continue to interview Abdulazeez’s acquaintances and delve into his visit to Jordan, looking for clues to whom or what might have influenced him and set off the bloodshed.


Fatal shooting of teenager by Memphis police officer probed

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the death of a teenager who was shot by a Memphis police officer during a confrontation.

According to a news release from the Memphis Police Department, the incident happened around 11 p.m. Friday night.

An officer working a traffic detail stopped a Chevrolet Malibu for not having a headlight. The driver was issued a traffic citation, but the passenger in the vehicle had two active warrants from out of state.

When the officer tried to handcuff the passenger, investigators say he attacked the officer, grabbed his handcuffs and began striking him. The officer was able to retrieve his gun and shoot the suspect, who later died at a local hospital.

Police did not name the passenger, but WMC-TV identified him as 19-year-old Darrius Stewart.

The officer has been relieved of duty pending the investigation. He also has not been identified.


Chattanooga shattered: A single gunshot, silence, and terror

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A single “pop” cut through the quiet morning. Those who heard it had a moment to ponder the noise.

On this ordinary Thursday, some thought a car had backfired, or maybe a tire had blown. Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge looked up from his computer in an Army recruiting office in a strip mall, more curious than alarmed.

Then a young man in a rented convertible re-aimed his rifle and unleashed a frenzy of bullets. These were the opening shots in a single-handed rampage against the military that seized this city for hours and reignited American fears about radicalization and homegrown terror. The shooter’s motive remains a mystery.

Glass shattered, televisions exploded, bullets whizzed past the heads of servicemen at their desks and rooted in the walls behind them. In nearby restaurants and hair salons and shops, people dived for cover or stood paralyzed by fear.

Inside the five side-by-side recruiting offices, one for each branch of the military and the National Guard, no one panicked.

“They were being soldiers,” said Keith Wheatley, the property manager, a Marine himself, who arrived moments after the attack. “That’s part of their job description. They know that any given time they could take fire, that’s what they do. They weren’t crying or upset. They were just trying to figure out what to do next.”


Teen apprehended after gunfire at Montgomery park

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Montgomery police say they’ve apprehended a teenager accused of firing a gun at Riverfront Park after a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game.

Police say they arrested the teen Saturday night after responding to reports of gunshots during the postgame fireworks show at Riverwalk Stadium, after the minor league game between Montgomery and the visiting Tennessee Smokies. There were no reports of injuries.

Chris Murphy, director of Montgomery’s public safety department, said police had learned of threatening social media messages suggesting there would be violence at the park. Murphy tells the Montgomery Advertiser that police had extra officers in the area.

Police tell WSFA-TV that the suspect fired a gun into the air. He was charged with reckless endangerment; discharging a firearm within city limits; and carrying a concealed weapon with no permit.

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