SAN DIEGO - A former San Diego man who traveled to Syria by way of Turkey to fight with ISIS was killed as part of its effort to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, was found with a U.S. passport and $800 in a pocket, according to published reports.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that McCain died in Syria fighting alongside ISIS. The official also said that investigators were aware that he had traveled to the country to join a militant group.
According to AP, a relative, Kenneth McCain, said the State Department had called his family to report that Douglas McCain had been killed in Syria.
The official said investigators did not yet have McCain's body and were still trying to verify information about his death.
McCain's sister posted the following on her public Facebook page:
"I really don't understand why and how and I have no words, I never thought this will be the way we say goodbye. You where my oldest brother, my biggest headache, the one I argue with the most, my words when I needed you to be. I can hear you now saying 'lele guess what, I'm awesome' and that big brother you are This is absolutely unreal to me I love you big brother"
Abdul Sharif says he used to play basketball with McCain in Paradise Valley a few years ago.
"He's kind of a jokester. He always had something funny to say," Sharif told 10News. "[He was a] normal person, normal guy you see at the basketball court."
While living in San Diego, McCain attended San Diego City College and worked at African Spice restaurant.
A San Diego Community College District spokesman said:
"The San Diego Community College District confirms Douglas McAuthur McCain previously attended San Diego City College. However, neither the district nor the college will be releasing any other information from his student record."
Before coming to San Diego, McCain lived in Minnesota where he had run-ins with the law. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports he was convicted for minor drug possession, theft and disorderly conduct.
McCain had been calling himself "Duale ThaslaveofAllah." His Facebook page stated he worked for the nonprofit Dawah-Calling to Allah. The Facebook page was removed early Tuesday afternoon. His Twitter account was still active as of Tuesday afternoon.
Mark Arabo, national spokesman for the Iraqi Christian community, said:
"It has become overwhelmingly clear that ISIS poses a threat not simply to the Middle East, but to America. We can only assume that this San Diego man has not worked alone in the radicalization of his ideas. While the United States can work towards eliminating members of ISIS from the Middle East, it is much more difficult to kill an idea. Therefore, the Iraqi Christian community is calling upon the United States to take a constructive role in stopping the flood of radicalized Islam from within our own nation. ISIS is no longer contained to the Middle East. We must ensure that these terrorists do not attain a hold of the minds and hearts of our countries Muslims."
ISIS, short for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is seeking to establish a government based on Shariah law.
An ISIS fighter with a British accent cut off the head of American journalist James Foley last week.