The Tennessee gunman who killed five members of the military appeared drawn to the late militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, suggesting he may have been radicalized by more traditional terror groups and not the Islamic State, investigators tell the Wall Street Journal. Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, died in a gunfight with police after attacking two military facilities Thursday in Chattanooga, Tn. His family has said Abdulazeez suffered from depression and struggled with drugs and alcohol.
Some of Abdulazeez's private writings from 2013 included depressed ramblings about his problems and the possibility that becoming a “martyr” could be an answer. His online search history shows an interest in. al-Awlaki that may mean a more direct, intentional path toward committing an act of terrorism, these people said. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. U.S. counterterrorism officials say he was a recruiter for al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, and an American citizen whose video speeches appealed to some disaffected young Muslim men living in the West. Abdulazeez's apparent interest in al-Awlaki suggests he may not have been part of the current wave of individuals who are attracted to the social media messages of Islamic State, but fits an older pattern of adopting jihadist views from more established terror groups.