The family of Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, the 24-year-old suspect of Thursday's shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, released a statement Saturday evening concerning the event that led to five servicemen's deaths. The emailed statement, tweeted by NPR, described their shock and referred to the gunman as a person who was "not the son we knew and loved."
The Abdulazeez family's statement noted that that their son had suffered from mental illness. "For many years, our son suffered from depression," the family wrote. "It grieves us beyond belief to know that his pain found its expression in this heinous act of violence."
The family identified Chattanooga as their "community," one which they had lived in for 25 years. But their son, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, had reportedly spent time overseas in the Middle East. Records show that Abdulazeez visited Kuwait and Jordan in 2010 and had been seen in Jordan in 2014, sources told CNN.
Sources close to the shooter said the trips had affected him mentally. "Something happened over there," Abdulrazzak Brizada, a Chattanooga resident, told CNN. "He never became close to me like he was before he went overseas."
Abdulazeez's shooting at the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga led to seven casualties, five of whom have perished. The latest victim, a male U.S. Navy petty officer, passed away Saturday morning. During the attack, Abdulazeez had been carrying at least three firearms and had a vest of ammunition, federal authorities revealed. Abdulazeez was killed in a shootout with police.
Federal authorities are continuing to investigate the attack. “We haven't determined whether it was an act of terrorism or a criminal act,” U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday. In response, state governors have issued executive orders to further arm National Guard officers on military bases and recruiting officers.
Here is the full statement from the Abdulazeez family:
We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the honorable servicemembers and police officers who were victims of the shooting our son committed on Thursday in Chattanooga, Tennessee--our community, and one we have loved for our  years. Our prayers go out to the victims' families, friends and everyone who is affected by this tragedy.
There are no words to describe our shock, horror and grief. The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved. 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.
We have cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to do so, as we understand there are many legitimate questions that need to be answered. Having said this, now is the time to reflect on the victims and their families, and we feel it would be inappropriate to say anything more than that we are truly sorry for their loss.