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Chattanooga Shooter Worked At Franklin Company For 3 Months

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Posted at 1:20 PM, Jul 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 05:51:20-04

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – A company in Franklin has confirmed that the gunman who attacked and killed four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga worked there for three months.

Officials with the Superior Essex plant on Southeast Parkway in Franklin confirmed that Mohammad Abdulazeez was an employee with the company.

Anna Basista, the company’s vice president of HR, said they had no media statement, but provided CNN with the letter.

In it, CEO Brian Kim said they are “shocked and deeply saddened” that their employee was the gunman, that the company had no indication that Abdulazeez was capable of harming anyone.

Read the full statement from Superior Essex

A high ranking official confirmed to NewsChannel 5 that Abdulazeez started work as a shift supervisor at the plant a few months prior to Thursday’s shooting.

He was supposed to be at work around 7 p.m. Thursday, but that official who didn't want to be named said Abdulazeez had been calling in sick for a few days.

More than one plant employee said everyone's a little shaken up. They said Abdulazeez always seemed like a nice guy and there were no problems with him here.

NewsChannel 5 spoke with one of Abdulazeez's co-workers. He never suspected anything about the 24-year-old.

"He just seemed like he was an everyday normal guy, never once acted like he was any kind of threat, or anything," said the employee who did not want to be identified.

The worker and Abdulazeez used to talk during their breaks at Superior Essex. He said one time the two of them had a now poignant conversation.

"He just talked about how he liked getting out shooting," the worker said.

But Abdulazeez told his co-worker he had an issue with a gun, and wanted to know if there were any gun stores between Franklin and Chattanooga.

"A part had broke, or something, and he didn't want to order it, he wanted to buy it right out of a store, if he could," the worker explained.

FBI agents conducted a sweep of the Franklin business Thursday night.

Those with the FBI said they went inside the building, sweeping it with several law enforcement officials and a K9 for any potential threats after employees learned why their shift supervisor did not show up for work Thursday night.

Officials with Franklin Police said they had been working with federal agents as they continue investigating the matter. 

“The Franklin Police Department is vigilant in protecting our residents from anything that threatens the security of our community,” said Chief Deborah Faulkner. “We will continue to partner with local, state, and federal law enforcement who join us in our commitment to safeguarding Franklin.”

Abdulazeez graduated from UT Chattanooga with an engineering degree. He was also a wrestler, as seen in a video found from one of his matches posted online.

He was arrested in March on DUI charges.

The FBI said they were here at the plant at the request of the employees who feared for their safety in case the suspect left anything dangerous at work.

Continuing Coverage Of Deadly Chattanooga Shooting