MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 33-year-old man who once lived in Minnesota and attended a New Hope high school was killed over the weekend in Syria, according to CBS News.
Douglas McAuthur McCain, who was most recently living in San Diego, California, was killed in Syria while fighting on behalf of ISIS.
CBS news says he died fighting in a battle near Aleppo in northwestern Syria. Family members said they had no idea he was affiliated with ISIS, but a post on Twitter offered a clue. He retweeted: “It takes a warrior to understand a warrior. Pray for ISIS.”
McCain was born in Illinois. He and his family later moved to Minnesota, where he lived from 1996 through 2008.
He attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School, and based on information from various sources, McCain seemed every bit the normal student. The school district says he attended from 1996 until 2000, but never graduated.
A former classmate of McCain, who did not want to give her name, says she is shocked by the news.
“I guess in a way it just kind of makes me sad because he was a really cool person. You would never, you would never think that from his personality,” she said.
According to a friend and reports on social media, he enjoyed basketball and rap music. For a time, he lived in a New Hope apartment complex with family members.
Starting in 2000, he had a series of minor run-ins with the local law enforcement. He was arrested for disorderly conduct, theft, obstruction, driving without a license and a minor marijuana possession. He was arrested in 2008 for giving police false information.
McCain’s sister, a California resident, posted on her Facebook page Tuesday: “I never thought this will be the way we say goodbye.”
On social media, McCain called himself “DualeThaslaveofALLAh.” In a May 2014 post on Twitter, he says he “reverted” to Islam ten years ago.
Reports on social media say earlier this summer, McCain was in Turkey — a common entry point for militants headed to Syria.
McCain was among three foreign members of ISIS who were killed this weekend. Details of how he died have not emerged, but the fighting between ISIS rebels and pro -government forces in both Syria and Iraq has been fierce.
The State Department’s press office also confirmed McCain’s death in a statement released Tuesday evening.
“We continue to use every tool we possess to disrupt and dissuade individuals from traveling abroad for violent jihad and to track and engage those who return,” said the State Department.
This news comes after President Obama authorized surveillance flights over Syria. Sources told the Associated Press they could lead to airstrikes against ISIS in that country.
Earlier this month, the U.S. began striking ISIS targets in Iraq.