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Douglas McCain, former Minnesotan, killed while fighting for terrorist group in Syria

Douglas McCain, former Minnesotan, killed while fighting for terrorist group in Syria
Douglas McCain via Facebook

NBC News broke the news yesterday of a 33-year-old American who grew up in Minnesota and died over the weekend fighting with ISIS in Syria. Citing White House officials and the Free Syrian Army, journalists identified the man as Douglas McAuthur McCain -- one of only a "small handful" of "foreign jihadis" believed to have joined the al-Qaeda spinoff.

Before moving to San Diego, McCain attended two schools, one in New Hope and one in Plymouth, between 1997 and 1999, according to Robbinsdale Area Schools. His classmates described him as a "goofball" who loved to play basketball. According to his Twitter account, he "reverted" to Islam around 2004. Public court records -- which document a couple of run-ins with police -- suggest he stuck around the Twin Cities until at least 2006.

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Members of McCain's family did not return our messages Tuesday. However, Paul Walsh of the Star Tribune reported that McCain's mother got a call Monday from the State Department telling her that her son had been killed over the weekend.

Walsh quoted Kenyata McCain saying that she spoke to her cousin as recently as Friday, when "he was telling all of us he was in Turkey." She added, "I know that he had strong Muslim beliefs, but I didn't know that he was in support of ISIS. I didn't think he would be."

ISIS (also known as ISIL) is a militant Islamic organization engaged in mass execution on ethnic and religious grounds. In June, McCain expressed support for the self-appointed soldiers of God via Twitter (using the name Duale Khalid):

This violent change in his worldview seems to have surprised many who knew or met him, his sister included. "I have no words, I never thought this will be the way we say goodbye," wrote Delecia McCain on Facebook, concluding: "This is absolutely unreal to me I love you big brother."

-- Send story tips to the author or follow him on Twitter @marxjesse




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