General jihadist propaganda may have inspired Tennessee gunman: source

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TN Shooting Suspect Texted Friend An Islamic Verse Hours Before Attack

General jihadist propaganda on the Internet may have inspired the man accused of killing five servicemen in Tennessee, not a specific directive or exhortation from a militant group such as Islamic State, a source close to the investigation said on Monday.

The source, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, told Reuters that authorities had not established a direct link between Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez and specific groups such as Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Even so, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it is investigating the attack as an act of terrorism.

The source close to the investigation and a second source told Reuters that Abdulazeez apparently did not use a laptop but could have read jihadist propaganda on his smart phone.

More details emerged on Monday about Abdulazeez's possible frame of mind leading up to the attacks. He had drug abuse problems and was worried about debt, according to his family and a diary he left behind, ABC News reported, citing a family representative.

Close friends told Reuters previously that the suspected shooter drank alcohol and smoked marijuana, had received treatment for drug problems, and struggled to reconcile those habits with his Islamic beliefs. His family said in a statement at the weekend that he suffered from depression.

Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was killed in a gunfight with police on Thursday after he sprayed gunfire at a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, then drove to a nearby Naval Reserve Center where he shot and killed four Marines. Three people were wounded, including a sailor who died on Saturday.

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General jihadist propaganda may have inspired Tennessee gunman: source
Marine First Sargeant John Coyne announces the names of the fallen Marines and Sailor during Roll Call at a memorial service Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The service is for four Marines and a sailor killed as a result of attacks on a military recruiting station and a Naval operations center July 16 in Chattanooga. (AP Photo/Mark Gilliland)
In this image released by the U.S. Navy, pallbearers carry the casket of Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Scott was one of five servicemen whose death was the result of a series of shootings at military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., on July 16, 2015.(Spc. 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/U.S. Navy via AP)
Pallbearers carry the casket of U.S. Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith after a service at First Baptist Church, Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. Smith was wounded and later died during an attack on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., on July 16, 2015. (Michael D. Cole/U.S. Navy via AP)
Marines give a final salute to Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan during ceremony at the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery, Monday, July 27, 2015, in Agawam, Mass. Sullivan was one of five service members killed by a gunman in Chattanooga, Tenn. on July 16. The gunman was killed by police. (Don Tregger/The Republican via AP, Pool)
Mourners arrive at Holy Cross Church for a funeral service for Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan in Springfield, Mass., Monday, July 27, 2015. Sullivan was one of five service members shot to death in the July 16 attack in Chattanooga. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Cathy Wells, center, the mother of Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, known as "Skip," stands after being presented with flowers at a memorial service at Sprayberry High School, where Wells attended, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Marietta, Ga. Crowds gathered at the suburban Atlanta high school to remember the Marine who was fatally shot in an attack on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Cathy Wells, left, the mother of Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, known as "Skip," is embraced by Lance Cpl. Kurt Bright, one of Wells' best friends upon arriving for a memorial service for her son at Sprayberry High School where he attended, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Marietta, Ga. Crowds gathered at the suburban Atlanta high school to remember the Marine who was fatally shot in an attack on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Mourners cheer during a memorial service for Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, known as "Skip," at Sprayberry High School where Wells attended, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Marietta, Ga. Crowds gathered at the suburban Atlanta high school to remember the Marine who was fatally shot in an attack on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Balloons are released during a memorial service for Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, known as "Skip," at Sprayberry High School where he attended, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Marietta, Ga. Crowds gathered at the suburban Atlanta high school to remember the Marine who was fatally shot in an attack on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Bill Lettmkuhl kneels by a makeshift memorial in front of near the Armed Forces Career Center on Friday, July 17, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, of Hixson, Tenn., attacked two military facilities on Thursday, in a shooting rampage that killed four Marines. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Keari Anderson walks through the memorial near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: Ronald May prays as he supports a cross at a memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there and a Navy sailor. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Ron Fahy and Misty Fahy hold a sign that reads,' American Lives Matter', as they attend a prayer service near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Vehicles flying American flags are seen as they arrive near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Jared Eldridge (L) and Zach Henderson fly American flags over highway 153 as they show their support for their country after four U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor were killed on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: John Kennon (L) and Lilla Kennon attend the East Ridge United Methodist Church for a prayer service to honor the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed during a shooting on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Lilla Kennon wipes away tears as she attends the East Ridge United Methodist Church for a prayer service to honor the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed during a shooting on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Teresa Jennings (L) and Miranda Jennings hold candles as they attend the East Ridge United Methodist Church for a prayer service to honor the four Marines and one Navy sailor killed during a shooting on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Members of the Highways and Hedges Ministry prepare to setup a wooden cross near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: U.S. Navy sailor Evan Montgomery places American flags in a memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: Christina Reed (L), Aaron Workman and Julia Morrison (R) pay their respects at a memorial setup at the entrance to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center where four United States Marines and a Navy sailor were killed on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: Joan Jones holds Isaiah Watson ,2, as they pay their respect at a memorial setup at the entrance to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center where four United States Marines and a Navy sailor were killed on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 18: A sign is seen among the memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Flowers and a sign are seen in the memorial near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Heather Brame and her son, J.T. left, sign a poster by a makeshift memorial outside the Armed Forces Career Center Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The U.S. Navy says a sailor who was shot in the attack on a military facility in Chattanooga has died, raising the death toll to five people. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
A man and woman comfort one another by a makeshift memorial outside the Armed Forces Career Center, Friday, July 17, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Counterterrorism investigators are trying to figure out why a 24-year-old Kuwait-born man, who by accounts lived a typical life in suburban America, attacked the career center and a Navy-Marine training center a few miles away in a shooting rampage that killed four Marines. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Laurie Norman becomes emotional as she looks at a makeshift memorial outside a military recruiting center Friday, July 17, 2015, where a gunman opened fire Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn. Counterterrorism investigators are trying to figure out why a 24-year-old Kuwait-born man, who by accounts lived a typical life in suburban America, attacked the career center and a Navy-Marine training center a few miles away in a shooting rampage that killed four Marines. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Toy soldiers are seen in the memorial setup near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Regina Ingram looks at a makeshift memorial outside a military recruiting center Friday, July 17, 2015, where a gunman opened fire Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn. Counterterrorism investigators are trying to figure out why a 24-year-old Kuwait-born man, who by accounts lived a typical life in suburban America, attacked the career center and a Navy-Marine training center a few miles away in a shooting rampage that killed four Marines. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Melissa Gallagher prays with her children as they pay their respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Flags stand in a make-shift memorial as people gather at the scene of a military recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Monday, July 20, 2015, four days after it was targeted in a pair of shootings that left five people dead. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez attacked two military facilities, including the career center, last week in a shooting rampage that killed a U.S. Navy sailor and four Marines. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Johnny Stapp whose son just entered the Marine Corps. places flags in the memorial in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Eli Arnold places an American flag in the memorial in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Alicia Nerren (R) prays with her children as they pay their respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Laurie Norman is overcome with emotion as she pays her respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station on July 16th at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines there, more than seven miles away, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Blake Miller and his mother, Ashley Miller whose husband is a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps pay their respects to those killed while visiting a memorial placed in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy more than seven miles away and killed four United States Marines there. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 17: Miller-Motte Technical College students and others join in prayer across the highway from the strip mall where a gunman attacked the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 17, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to reports, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy more than seven miles away and killed four United States Marines there. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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The shooting follows a series of attacks, or thwarted attacks, in the United States and other countries by Muslims claiming to be inspired by Islamic State or other militant groups. Such "lone wolf" attacks by militant, radicalized U.S. Muslims acting on their own pose a greater risk to the country than a large-scale operation, President Barack Obama has said.

U.S. lawmakers said on Sunday they will examine possible shortcomings in law enforcement or intelligence in the case, which highlighted growing concern about possible Internet-based directives from Islamic State leaders in Syria.

Abdulazeez, an engineer, wrote about having suicidal thoughts and "becoming a martyr" as far back as 2013 after losing his job due to drug use, both prescription and non-prescription, the family representative told ABC news.

ABC did not name the family contact, who said Abdulazeez abused sleeping pills, opioids, painkillers, marijuana and alcohol.

ABC said that Abdulazeez was taking sleeping pills to deal with an overnight shift at work, and was considering filing for bankruptcy because he was thousands of dollars in debt.

Abdulazeez's mother filed for divorce in 2009, alleging physical, verbal and sexual abuse by his father, but the two eventually reconciled and the suit was dismissed, according to court records. In her petition Rasmia Abdulazeez also alleged that her husband Youssuf Abdulazeez had beaten his children on occasion.

In a post-nuptial agreement the couple came to in February 2009, Youssuf Abdulazeez agreed he has no right to make financial claims on any family members unless they voluntarily offer that resource to him.

INVESTIGATION FOCUSED ON TRAVEL

Investigators were looking into Abdulazeez's travels abroad to find clues on whether he had been radicalized.

Abdulazeez graduated from Red Bank High School near Chattanooga and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. On a resume posted on Indeed.com, he listed three jobs since 2010, all internships.

Abdulazeez returned from a trip to Jordan in 2014 concerned about conflicts in the Middle East and the reluctance of the United States and other countries to intervene, according to two friends who had known him since elementary school.

Abdulazeez went to the Middle East in 2010 and visited several countries, one of his friends told Reuters. He then went to Jordan in 2014 to work for his uncle, and lived with his uncle and his grandparents there, he said. Both friends spoke with Reuters on condition they not be named because they feared a backlash.

According to Abdulazeez's friends, he owned handguns and purchased three assault rifles on an online site, Armslist.com, after returning from Jordan, using them for target practice.

Friends said he had always liked shooting, starting with BB guns and paintball, and that he enjoyed driving fast cars.

In April, Abdulazeez was charged with driving under the influence. He had faced a July 30 court date.

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