A 33-year-old San Diego native died fighting for ISIS in Syria over the weekend, NBC reports, and was identified by his neck tattoo. Douglas McAuthur McCain was named by members of the Free Syrian Army, another opposition group, through an American passport found in his pocket. Also found with his body was $800 in cash.
On Facebook, McCain went by the name “Duale ThaslaveofAllah.” Photos going back as far as four years show ISIS’s signature flag of tawhid, though he apparently only crossed into Syria from Turkey a few months ago. McCain also tweeted about his conversion experience:
Before that, classmates described the high-school-age McCain as a happy kid:
Classmates at the school – which was described to NBC News as around 75 percent white and 10 percent African American - recalled an “always smiling” joker who liked to laugh and play basketball. McCain wasn’t on the high school team and didn’t come across as religious, according to one basketball buddy.
“He was a goofball in high school,” that classmate told NBC News. “Doug was a fun guy to be around. Played basketball, joked a lot, had a small sense of humor. Got along with most … Wasn’t the best athlete, but liked to play.”
Another classmate recalled going to teen nights on Fridays at the local YMCA to play basketball and dance. McCain “was a good guy who loved his family and friends,” the classmate said. “He would be the light in anyone’s darkness. He always made you smile with his goofy self.”
His family members confirmed McCain’s death, but did not comment on the circumstances. Several hundred North Americans are believed to be fighting with ISIS in Syria, along with around 500 Britons.