Tennessee shooter had suffered from depression family says

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez
Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez

The man who shot five US troops in Tennessee suffered from depression, his family have said.

Four US marines and a sailor were killed when 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire on two military centres in Chattanooga on Thursday, before dying himself in a shoot out with police. 

"There are no words to describe our shock, horror and grief," his family said in a statement cited by an NPR public radio journalist.

"The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved," it added.

"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."

Authorities have said they are treating the case -- a grisly scene reminiscent of other shooting rampages at US military installations -- as an "act of terrorism."

Investigators are looking into Mr Abdulazeez's travel abroad and activity on social media to understand why he carried out the attack. 

Divorce papers filed by his mother also point to an unhappy home life, including allegations his father beat his wife and five children.

The Abdulazeez family said they would continue to cooperate with law enforcement and expressed their condolences to the families of the victims.

Hours before the suspected gunman texted a close friend a link to an Islamic verse that included the line: "Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, then I have declared war against him."

The suspect's friend said he thought nothing of the text message at the time, but now wonders if it was a clue to Thursday's rampage in Chattanooga, which has re-ignited concerns about the radicalisation of young Muslim men.
"I didn't see it as a hint at the time, but it may have been his way of telling me something," He requested anonymity for fear of a backlash.