Ten­nessee shooter’s un­cle de­tained in Jor­dan: lawyer

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An un­cle of the man who killed four Marines and a sailor in at­tacks on Ten­nessee mil­i­tary sites has been in cus­tody in Jor­dan since a day af­ter the at­tack, a lawyer said Tues­day.

Ab­del Qader al-Khatib told The As­so­ci­ated Press he was barred from see­ing his client and that fam­ily mem­bers were also pre­vented from vis­it­ing the de­tainee. Al-Khatib iden­ti­fied his client as Asaad Ibrahim Ab­du­lazeez Haj Ali, a ma­ter­nal un­cle of the Chat­tanooga at­tacker, Muham­mad Youssef Ab­du­lazeez.

A Jor­da­nian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said Tues­day some of Ab­du­lazeez’s rel­a­tives in Jor­dan were be­ing ques­tioned as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his stay in the king­dom. He would not elab­o­rate on the probe.

Ab­du­lazeez spent sev­eral months in Jor­dan last year un­der a mu­tual agree­ment with his par­ents to help him get away from drugs, al­co­hol and a group of friends his rel­a­tives con­sid­ered a bad in­flu­ence, ac­cord­ing to a per­son close to his fam­ily who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

In the U.S., author­i­ties are strug­gling to un­der­stand Ab­du­lazeez’s mo­tive. In­ves­ti­ga­tors have de­scribed their search through the rem­nants of his life as a do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but noth­ing about his com­ings and go­ings had caught their at­ten­tion be­fore the rampage Thurs­day morn­ing.

A U.S. of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said in­ves­ti­ga­tors have found writ­ings from Ab­du­lazeez that ref­er­ence An­war alAwlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Septem­ber 2011 and who of­fi­cials be­lieve played an im­por­tant role in en­cour­ag­ing and in­spir­ing at­tacks on the home­land.

How­ever, in­ves­ti­ga­tors have said they have not found ev­i­dence that Ab­du­lazeez was specif­i­cally di­rected by some­one to carry out the at­tacks.

Adding to the mud­dled pic­ture, many who knew him de­scribed a clean-cut high school wrestler who grad­u­ated col­lege with an en­gi­neer­ing de­gree and at­tended a lo­cal mosque.

“Ev­ery­thing seemed fine. He was nor­mal. He was telling me work was go­ing great,” said Ahmed Saleen Is­lam, 26, who knew Ab­du­lazeez through the Is­lamic So­ci­ety of Greater Chat­tanooga and saw him at the mosque a few nights be­fore the at­tacks.

But the per­son close to the fam­ily talked about a darker side of Ab­du­lazeez. He was first treated by a child psy­chi­a­trist for de­pres­sion when he was 12 or 13 years old. Sev­eral years ago, rel­a­tives tried to have him ad­mit­ted to an in-pa­tient pro­gram for drug and al­co­hol abuse, but a health in­surer re­fused to ap­prove the ex­pense.

Ab­du­lazeez lost a job at a nu­clear power plant in Ohio in May 2013 for what was de­scribed as a failed drug test. An April ar­rest on a charge of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence was “im­por­tant” be­cause Ab­du­lazeez was deeply em­bar­rassed and seemed to sink fur­ther into de­pres­sion fol­low­ing the episode, the per­son said. The fam­ily be­lieves his per­sonal strug­gles could be at the heart of last week’s killings, the per­son close to them said.

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