Investigations Dig Deeper Into The Life Of An Unlikely Killer

Amna Shoaib
As facets of Mohammad Yousuf Adbulazeez's life are unveiled, a normal person emerges who no one believed could hurt anyone. What went wrong?

Much has been said and written about Kuwait-born Mohammad Yousuf Adbulazeez, the key suspect in the mass murder at military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., in which he was killed.

Investigators and the general public have been baffled by the life of this young shooter who, at least on the outside, was your standard funny, popular kid who liked to play Frisbee and had a penchant for wrestling.

Like most Muslims growing up in the U.S., Adbulazeez was aware of the distrust and suspicion surrounding his identity. But unlike most kids whose confidence may be undermined by such unjustified aggression, Mohammad had learned to joke about the dread he caused. His photo in the high school yearbook was accompanied by this quote:

Even when the 24-year-old, who had been clean-shaven for the better part of his life, talked about Islam in his blog, he seemed to be taking a tolerant, pluralistic approach. One of his blog posts reads:

“We have a certain understanding of Islam and keep a tunnel vision of what we think Islam is. What we know is Islam and everything else is not. And we don’t have appreciation for other points of view and accept the fact that we may be missing some important parts of the religion.”

Those who knew him describe Adbulazeez as "the last person you would think would do something like this." The only violence he reportedly showed was when he entered the ring for a mixed martial arts fight. This is a clip of Mohammad from 2009:

His family was much like many other in the U.S. – relatives smiling easily for the camera and moms posting their sons' graduation photos on Facebook.

But as investigations unveil more details about his life, it becomes clear that there was always some tension brewing under the seemingly normal family life.

Reports reveal that his mother had filed for divorce from his father Youssef because of Youssef's alleged physical and sexual abuse toward her and striking their children without any justification. She also alleged that Youssef threatened to take a second wife, as is allowed under the Sharia law.

More than anything, Adbulazeez's reported trip to the Mideast is cited as culpable for his sudden transformation. FBI agents suspect that the young man may have visited Jordan, and could have stopped at Yemen on the way. Adbulazeez's supposed sojourn to Yemen, the stronghold of ISIS and a training ground for militants, is enough to raise concerns. The two brothers of Algerian origin who opened fire at the Charlie Hebdo office in January had both visited Yemen in 2011.

The attack came as a shock to his family and friends, one of whom insisted that "this was not him."