VERO BEACH, Fla. - The American suicide bomber who carried out an attack in Syria is believed to be from the Treasure Coast, according to several neighbors.
Sources confirm to WPTV that 22-year-old Moner Mohammed Abusalha was a Sebastian River High School student.
Resident Bill Miller says Abusalha, known as Mo, played football in high school and basketball with his kids at their home in Vero Beach. Miller says Abusalha's Facebook posts grew angry the last few years and that's one reason his kids were no longer close to their high school classmate.
According to neighbors, the family lives in a gated community in Vero Beach.
Abusalha was also called by the 'nom de guerre' Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki and the New York Times reports his name as Moner Abusalha.
Insurgents say he led Sunday's attack in Syria. A video posted online shows a truck being loaded with explosions. Moments later there's a massive blast followed by cries in Arabic saying 'god is great'. Insurgents claim he's the first U.S. citizen to carry out such an attack in Syria.
Abusalha is among a group of Americans whom intelligence agents have been trying to keep tabs on since they went to Syria some months ago to join extremists in the fight against the Syrian government.
Brad Robinson, a former CIA operative, says radical groups try to appeal to younger Americans using money, or ego.
"Might be thrill seeking, see that a lot in the younger people that have grown up especially in this era of ultra violent movies, video games," said Robinson.
Investigators are interviewing family members. His parents refused to comment Friday night.