Homeland chairman: Tennessee shooting appears ‘ISIS-inspired’

Homeland chairman: Tennessee shooting appears ‘ISIS-inspired’

Thursday’s massacre of four Marines in Chattanooga, Tenn., appears to have been a terror attack motivated by Islamic extremism, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee said on Friday.

Though federal investigators later said there was "no indication" the shooting was directed by an outside group, Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse passes legislation to crack down on business with companies that utilize China's forced labor House Republicans blame Chinese cover-up for coronavirus pandemic Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack MORE (R-Texas) said it had all the hallmarks of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).


“My judgment and my experience is that it was an ISIS-inspired attack,” McCaul said during a press conference at Florida’s MacDill Air Force Base. “The targets are identical to the targets called by ISIS to attack.”

The gunman, whom officials have identified as 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, was shot and killed in the firefight. Two other Marines and a local police officer were also injured in the massacre.

On Thursday, federal officials said that Abdulazeez appeared to be acting alone, but that they were treating the incident as an act of domestic terrorism.

On Friday, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation said that it did not appear he had been "inspired by or directed by anyone other than himself." 

In blog posts discovered in the wake of the shooting, Abdulazeez discusses his Muslim faith, which has stoked speculation among some corners that the shooting was motivated by an extremist understanding of the religion. 

On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a Republican presidential candidate, said that Abdulazeez “was there to carry out jihad, an act of radical Islamic terrorism.” 

Officials investigating the shooting, however, have yet to weigh in.

The shooting comes on the heels of repeated warnings about isolated extremists, whom federal officials say can grow radicalized in private by following online postings of ISIS, al Qaeda and other groups.

Adherents of ISIS have reportedly encouraged violence against U.S. military and police officials, and have also called for an increase in attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan ends on Friday.

As apparent evidence of the growing threat, FBI Director James Comey said this month that officials have made 10 arrests in connection with terrorism plots in recent weeks.  

- Updated at 4:56 p.m.