The South Jersey man who Yemini officials are calling a terrorist with links to al-Qaeda previously worked at three local nuclear power plants.
Sharif Mobley, 26, is being held in a jail in Yemen after he allegedly killed a police guard and seriously injured another during a shootout at a hospital on Monday.
The Buena, N.J. native has also been accused of taking part in several acts of terrorism, Yemini officials say. He also purportedly has ties to the same branch of al-Qaeda who are suspected of attempting to blow up a U.S. airliner on its way to Detroit on Christmas.
As details of Mobley's arrest trickle back to the U.S., more people who knew him are coming forward.
Former high school classmate Roman Castro says Mobley was always fiercely religious and tried to convert high school friends to Islam.
Castro says he ran into Mobley during an Army tour in Iraq around four years ago. The two had a short exchange, with Mobley telling him to "Get the hell away from me, you Muslim killer," according to Castro.
A former neighbor said Mobley moved to Yemen two years ago to study Islam.
Mobley, who was born in the U.S., also worked as a laborer at three Salem County nuclear power plants, power company officials say.
Working for several contractors, Mobley carried supplies and did maintenance work at the plants on Artificial Island in Lower Alloways Creek from 2002 to 2008, PSE&G spokesperson Joe Delmar said.
Mobley also worked at other plants in the area, Delmar said.
Speaking to NBC Philadelphia Wednesday, Mobley's mother denied claims her son was a terrorist. She called Sharif a "good Muslim" and said he's "absolutely not a terrorist."
However, she did confirm that when she last spoke to her son in late January he was in Yemen. The FBI also visited their home, but the mother would not say for what reason.
Federal authorities including the FBI, State department and others confirm they are gathering information on Mobley, but would not ellaborate further.
Mobley was captured after trying to escape the hospital. He is now in Yemini custody.