Future jihadist raised in Calif.

Published April 24, 2015

LOS ANGELES — Adam Gadahn was the grandson of a Jewish doctor.

He was raised on a ranch in Riverside County, Calif., and later lived in Orange County, where he found his way to the Islamic Center of Orange County. There, he became increasingly radical in his beliefs, acquaintances and officials would later say, falling under the influence of two radical Muslims, Khalil Deek and Hisham Diab.

He became so angry and outspoken that he was eventually kicked out of the center.

Then in 2004, Gadahn emerged on television, making threats against the United States in a suspected al-Qaida video. That year, the U.S. identified him as being linked to al-Qaida and a potential threat in the United States.

A decadelong manhunt for Gadahn ended in January when he was killed during the U.S. counterterrorism operation that also accidentally killed two innocent hostages.

To many, Gadahn was an enigma, a suburban kid who somehow found himself in the Middle East as a sworn enemy of the United States.

Gadahn had been on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists and was the first American since the World War II era to be charged with treason. The government offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

He was indicted in 2006 by a federal grand jury in Orange County on charges of providing material support to al-Qaida by appearing in the 2004 video as well as others.

In one video cited in the indictment, Gadahn acknowledged that he had "joined a movement waging war on America and killing large numbers of Americans." Wrapped in a head scarf that revealed only his eyes, Gadahn also declared that the Sept. 11 attacks on Washington and New York "notified America that it's going to have to pay for its crimes and pay dearly."