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Fmr. UTEP player, self-proclaimed 'jihadist' Chris Craig was in El Paso recently

Published On: Aug 09 2013 01:12:17 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 10:54:31 PM CST

Fmr. UTEP player Chris Craig, self-proclaimed jihadist, spent months in El Paso recently.

EL PASO, Texas -

A former UTEP basketball player who caught the attention of law enforcement for his inflammatory blogs was in El Paso for months, until recently.

ABC-7 learned Chris Craig was living in northeast El Paso until about a month ago.

Craig allegedly made threats against the Catholic and Mormon churches, and Craig spent much of the past several months living with a close friend, former UTEP basketball player and ex-Cathedral coach Omar Duran.

"For the past two and a half months he's been living with me. He recently left, like, three weeks ago. He wanted to read the bible and he didn't want any distractions. I opened my house to him," he said. 

Duran showed ABC-7's Darren Hunt the room where Craig stayed from May until mid-July. Craig slept on a foam mattress, even though Duran offered him a bed, and would spend hours reading the bible.

Craig left some of his writings with his El Paso friend, he has posted others on his blogs, which seem to indicate he believes he is a prophet and the end of the world is near.

"He has a vision," Duran said of Craig. "He thinks he's part of the plan. He's always telling me, 'I know people are going to think I'm crazy, but it's all God's plan' and he sees himself as one of God's disciples on earth."

Duran told ABC-7 he noticed changes in his former teammate, who suddenly quit his head coaching job at Midland College in March. Craig, Duran said, didn't want to coach anymore. However, traits of the old Craig are still there, in his full devotion.

"If anybody knows Chris, like we all do, he's an extremist. One of the reasons he was really good at basketball is because he dedicated himself day in and day out and neglected everything else. Same way with coaching, he was a really good coach because he was an extremist," Duran said.

Now the 32-year-old Craig, who was arrested after allegedly entering a classroom at Eastern Arizona College a day after leaving El Paso last month, raising a bible in the air and shouting obscenities, is being described by authorities as a different kind of extremist.

Duran said he is worried about Craig "because of the fact he's willing to put himself through so much pain," he said.

"He wouldn't eat for days, he'd fast, just because he wanted to. He said fasting would put him in a mental state where God can reach him mentally better. His reputation is obviously shot, he'll never coach again. He doesn't care about that ... To him he thinks he's  kind of a sacrifice for the people to know the truth. It's just his avenue of telling the truth is kind of extreme."

Duran said he never heard Craig mention Islam and he doesn't think his friend would hurt anyone.

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