The man who killed four U.S. Marines and wounded three others at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday had attempted to gain access to a nuclear reactor in 2013.
Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez almost had access to the inner workings of a nuclear power plant in the Cleveland suburbs, but he was ultimately never retained for a permanent position after training.
Employees at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant on the shores of Lake Erie recognized Abdulazeez’s photo on the news after details of the shooting emerged, and informed local television station WKYC NBC 3 on Friday.
Managers of the power plant confirmed that Abdulazeez worked for the plant for 10 days in May 2013, but failed First Energy’s screening process and was reportedly never given access to sensitive areas of the plant.
“He failed to meet our minimum requirements for employment,” spokeswoman Jennifer Young told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “In the 10 days during the screening process, he was classified as a conditional employee.”
According to First Energy, Abdulazeez and other applicants attended general training classes in the administration building while the company conducted background checks.
“He was never inside the plant. He did not have any company documents. He was received like any member of the public,” Young said, saying Abdulazeez worked as an electrical engineer just outside the nuclear reactor during his brief employment.
Records show that during his time in the Cleveland area, Abdulazeez mostly stayed out of trouble, aside from being evicted from an area apartment complex, and federal authorities say he was not on any watch lists or under investigation by any federal agency.
Authorities would not say what information found in his background check prohibited him from gaining access to the nuclear reactor.