The former San Diegan who was killed while fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) once helped care for people with disabilities, his client exclusively told NBC 7.
NBC News reported 33-year-old Douglas McCain died in a battle this weekend in Syria, according to the Free Syrian Army.
But that's not the Douglas San Diego resident Justin Filley, 38, knew.
"He was a genuine, funny, laid back person," said Filley of the man he describes as a really close friend.
For two years, McCain was employed to help take care of Filley who suffers from Williams syndrome, a genetic condition that can lead to cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and an exceptional ability to learn language and music.
“He was good at helping to make sure my bills were being paid and make sure I was safe,” Filley said.
NBC 7 has confirmed McCain attended San Diego City College. From his social media posts, it is hard to tell when he moved to the area, but it appears he has family in the area.
While in the city, he spent time in the Somali Community, though he was African American.
He was known at a mosque in El Cajon and reportedly converted to Islam in 2004.
"Sometimes he would get on the floor and pray," remembered Filley.
Posting under the name “Duale ThaSlaveofAllah,” McCain's social media posts turned from talk of basketball to telling a suspected ISIS member "I will be joining you guys soon."
Despite that transformation Filley, as well as McCain’s employer, says they didn’t notice his views become extreme, though they didn’t talk about religion.
Filley told NBC 7 McCain had a wife and daughter, and his manager said he unexpectedly left the area around March. Around that time, he reportedly left the U.S. for Turkey.