Divorce papers alleged violence in Chattanooga shooter's home

Chattanooga shooter's father was investigated by FBI
Chattanooga shooter's father was investigated by FBI

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Story highlights

  • Mohammad Abdulazeez' mother claimed she was beaten by husband during marriage
  • She and shooter's father ended dispute a month later, with stipulations

(CNN)The 24-year-old man who killed five U.S. service members and wounded two others in Chattanooga came from a violent home, according to allegations made by his mother in court documents obtained by CNN.

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez grew up in a home where his father, Youssuf S. Abdulazeez, according to divorce papers filed by his mother, had beaten her repeatedly, sometimes "severely," leading Rasmia Abdulazeez to file for divorce and seek a restraining order in February 2009. The mother alleged in the divorce filing that Youssuf Abdulazeez sought to take a second wife.
Mohammad Abdulazeez, who was killed by Chattanooga police after his rampage Thursday, would have been 18 years old at the time of the filing of the court papers, in which his mother states he and his four siblings witnessed the violence in the home.
    The divorce papers were filed by the mother in Hamilton County, Tennessee, and state that Youssuf Abdulazeez "has repeatedly beaten Plaintiff, including at times in the presence of children. On one occasion, he beat Plaintiff so severely that she has fled the marital home and went to a Crisis Center."
    The mother also alleged that the father "has sexually assaulted the Plaintiff in the marital home when the children have also been in the home," and that occasionally, he was "physically and verbally abusive towards the children, striking and berating them without provocation or justification."
    At one point, Rasmia Abdulazeez' brothers came to Chattanooga from Kuwait and Washington, D.C. to "work out family difficulties," but that after they returned "Defendant has become more abusive," according to the complaint filed by the mother.
    In the court papers, Rasmia Abdulazeez claims that her husband "...intends to take a second wife, as permitted under Islamic law, in the parties' native State of Palestine." Rasmia Abdulazeez was seeking custody of the couple's minor children because, according to her, she did not work and her husband only gave her a few dollars a week.
    Despite problems described by the mother in the papers, the case was all dropped and an agreement signed by both husband and wife was filed to end the dispute within several weeks, the papers show.
    In the agreement to end the dispute, the "Husband agrees to not inflict any personal injury, harm, or insult upon the Wife or upon any of the children of their marriage." In those documents the elder Abdulazeez also "agrees to be responsible for financially supporting the family and paying for the day-to-day expenses associated with the family's residence... and the needs of the members of the household."
    The FBI hasn't released much information on Mohammad Abdulazeez, saying it doesn't yet know what motivated Thursday's bloodshed, but it is working on an assumption.
    "We will treat this as a terrorism investigation until it can be determined that it is not," said FBI Special Agent Edward Reinhold.
    People who knew Mohammad Abdulazeez said they were stunned to hear he was the man who went on such a violent, murderous spree, when he sprayed a military recruiting center at a strip mall with bullets on Wednesday, then drove more than 7 miles to assault a Navy Operational Support Center.
    Mohammad Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait in September 1990, during the Iraqi invasion of that country, Kuwait's Interior Ministry said Friday, but he was also a holder of a "temporary Jordanian passport," according to a Jordanian government source.
    They explained that Abdulazeez was a Palestinian who used the temporary Jordanian passport as a travel document. Jordan issued such temporary passports to Gazans and some other Palestinians. But the officials stressed he is not considered to be a Jordanian citizen.
    Abdulazeez was in Jordan in 2014, when he visited an uncle there; it is believed he spent months there on his visit.
    The father, Youssuf Abdulazeez, is believed to have left Jordan and came to the United States in 1982, according to Jordanian officials.
    Law enforcement officials told CNN the father's name came up during a FBI terror-financing investigation in the 1990s, and the FBI fully investigated him in 2002 for alleged financial support of overseas groups, but both investigations were closed with no charges brought against Youssuf Abdulazeez.
    Numerous efforts by CNN to reach the father, Youssuf Abdulazeez, for comment about the divorce papers and allegations were unsuccessful.
    He did not appear to have an attorney or make any court filings during the civil proceedings with his wife.