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The 23-year-old Muslim convert who is suspected of shooting two soldiers outside of a Little Rock, Ark. recruiting station, killing one, is a former Tennessee State University student who was here in Nashville studying business.
As part of an exchange program, Abdulhakim Muhammad, formerly Carlos Bledsoe, traveled to Yemen in September 2007 to teach English to Afghan refugees, according to reports from CNN
and the New York Times
. His lawyer says he met children with missing limbs and women who claimed to have been raped by U.S. soldiers. At some point he married a Yemeni woman, but was allegedly not allowed to bring her back to the States.
Officials say Muhammad was caught with forged Somali documents and tossed into a Yemeni prison. His lawyer disputes this and says that, while in prison, Muhammad was tortured by his captors. It was there his attorney claims he was radicalized by prisoners he was housed with.
In November 2008, he was deported with the cooperation of the U.S. Embassy in the port city of Aden. In January he returned to Nashville, where his parents noticed he'd become an agitated, incredibly disaffected man, angry at the government for the wounds he'd seen on Afghani children and for not allowing him to bring his Yemeni wife into the country.