“Abdulazeez had several friends at the gym, but one in particular, a former Chattanooga police officer, would constantly exhort militant Islamic views and threatened anyone who bad-mouthed the faith, Schrader said. The man was the one who introduced Abdulazeez to the Fight Factory and became the young fighter’s closest mentor, he said.” Where is this former Chattanooga police officer now? Is anyone trying to find him or talk to him? If not, why not?
“Chattanooga shooter straddled worlds,” by Rick Jervis, USA TODAY, July 17, 2015 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
The shooting suspect in the deadly Chattanooga rampage was a talented mixed-martial arts fighter of Arab descent who embraced American ideals, but increasingly struggled to balance his Muslim and American worlds, his former trainer said.
The FBI identified Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez 24, as the shooter in the Thursday afternoon attack that left four Marines dead. Police haven’t said whether the gunman was killed by officers or shot himself.
Federal prosecutors said on Thursday they were investigating the incident as possible “domestic terrorism.” Federal law enforcement officials said it appeared the shooter acted alone, but investigators were still looking for any possible associates who may have helped inspire the incident or helped him acquire the weapon, said the officials, who were not authorized to comment publicly.
In the shaded, quiet neighborhood where Abdulazeez lived with his family, about seven miles from the Naval Reserve Center where the killings occurred, neighbors were stunned by the developments.
“I didn’t find anything wrong with the kid,” neighbor Dean McDaniel said. “He just intermingled with the kids in the neighborhood.”
Abdulazeez attended Red Bank High School in Chattanooga and went on to acquire a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, according to an online resume.
A page in his Red Bank High School yearbook shows a clean-cut Abdulazeez dressed in a tuxedo and smiling next to the quote: “My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”
Abdulazeez also had a sporting side. He trained at the Chattanooga Fight Factory, a mixed-martial arts gym, for more than a year when he was 17 and 18 years old, said Scott Schrader, the gym’s owner and Abdulazeez’s trainer. Abdulazeez worked out three to five days a week at the gym and quickly grew into an aspiring young fighter, he said.
Promptly each evening at 6 p.m., Abdulazeez would interrupt his workout and unfurl his prayer rug in the gym’s offices to conduct evening prayers, Schrader said. He would also hang out with Schrader and other friends from the gym at local restaurants and bars, where they would watch mixed-martial art matches.
“You could see he was trying to become more Americanized,” he said. “But his family disapproved (of the fighting).”
Abdulazeez had several friends at the gym, but one in particular, a former Chattanooga police officer, would constantly exhort militant Islamic views and threatened anyone who bad-mouthed the faith, Schrader said. The man was the one who introduced Abdulazeez to the Fight Factory and became the young fighter’s closest mentor, he said.
In 2010, Schrader drove Abdulazeez more than 100 miles south to compete in the North American Grappling Championships in Atlanta. Grappling is a wrestling-like form of martial arts that doesn’t allow striking an opponent. Abdulazeez won a silver medal in his division at the tournament.
“He was a good grappler, a good wrestler,” Schrader said. “He was a good, respectful kid. I never had a problem out of him.”
A few months after the tournament, Abdulazeez competed in a mixed-martial arts fight. After the fight, his father, who was waiting for him outside the ring, berated him loudly for taking part in the sport, Schrader said. “He was really furious,” he said.
Abdulazeez worked out at the gym a few more times after the incident, but showed up less and less, and finally stopped coming altogether. A 2009 caged-in fight between him and fighter Timmy Hall posted on YouTube shows Abdulazeez taking down his opponent and landing several blows, before the two-minute video ends.
But the clean-cut sport fighter was increasingly turning his attention to other things. He maintained an Islam-focused blog that explored the sacrifices Muslims should make in the name of their religion, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online terrorist activity….