An American who lived in San Diego died this weekend in Syria while fighting alongside other extremists with the terror group ISIS.
NBC is reporting that Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, attended San Diego City College and worked at a restaurant near Colina del Sol.
The Illinois native, who also spent time in Minnesota, was active on social media, according to the report, and his posts ranged from ordinary likes and dislikes – Pizza Hut and the Lakers respectively – to reflections in recent months that indicated his faith was taking a radical turn.
NBC said U.S. officials learned of his death in Syria because he was carrying a passport when he died, along with $800 in cash.
His death was the result of a clash between two extremist groups, but McCain’s move overseas to join jihadis is alarming government officials.
A U.S. source told NBC, “The threat we are most concerned about to the homeland is that of fighters like this returning to the U.S. and committing acts of terrorism.”
It is believed he embraced Islam 10 years ago. He used the moniker “Duale ThaslaveofAllah” on social media. He had accounts on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
It is unclear when he moved to San Diego but, according to the report, acquaintances here did not see him as a radical, but a congenial man of faith.
“He was a normal guy who was social, open-minded, liked to smile always, and always wanted to be a good Muslim,” one told NBC.
McCain’s social media accounts though, reflected a turn toward extremism this spring, when he tweeted ISIS materials. His travels, the report said, then took him through Turkey. What route the one-time San Diegan took to Syria is unknown.
There are fears that Westerners are increasingly taking part in acts of terrorism. When American journalist James Foley was beheaded last week, the ISIS video was narrated by a person with a British accent. Authorities area attempting to identify the culprit.