Shooter’s family says he suffered from depression

JAY REEVES,
Associated Press

Chattanooga, Tenn. — The family of the man who authorities say killed four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga said in a statement that their son suffered from depression and was not the son they knew.

“There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief,” said the statement, provided Saturday to the Associated Press by a lawyer representing the family of Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. “The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved. 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.”

“We understand there are many legitimate questions that need to be answered,” the statement said. “Having said this, now is the time to reflect on the victims and their families, and we feel it would be inappropriate to say anything more other than that we are truly sorry for their loss.”

The family added that they are cooperating with the investigation.

In Chattanooga, a city that prides itself on strong ties between people of different faiths, some Muslims feared the community’s perception of them had changed after the shooting rampage Thursday.

Mohsin Ali, a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, said he hoped the local community didn’t dissolve into turmoil the way others have in the region over the building of mosques and other matters. Peaceful coexistence has largely prevailed here.

“We, our kids, feel 100 percent American and Chattanoogan,” said the Pakistani-born Ali, who is a child psychiatrist. “Now they are wondering if that is how people still look at them.”

FBI agent Jason Pack said no arrests have been made in the case.

Authorities are looking into the shooting as a terrorism investigation and whether Abdulazeez was inspired or directed by any terrorist organization.

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State Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland and a member of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, said Sunday he will introduce legislation requiring full-time National Guard personnel in Michigan be armed to protect themselves from terrorist attacks such as last week's fatal shootings in Chattanooga.

Glenn, a former Guardsman, also wrote Gov. Rick Snyder, urging him not to wait on legislative action but to follow the lead of governors in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, and Oklahoma in taking immediate action to arm National Guard personnel and increase security at Guard facilities, including storefront recruiting offices.

"The state of Michigan should not wait to order common sense steps that under the current civilian leadership of the Pentagon may never come to protect the lives of our military service men and women on duty here at home in Michigan," Glenn wrote in an e-mail to Snyder. .pdf