I did a search on “Ismail” and “ax”, dug around a bit, and found this. It is from a book called “Hajj” by Dr. Ali Shariati. It relates Ibrahim’s destruction of idols, and there is a line that refers to taking an axe and “sacrficing your Ismail.” I don’t know if this is allegorical and meant to refer to spiritual struggle, or whether it is something that is encourage to be acted upon in the world. Here also is one of the chapters:
The Battle Front
“God is Great”, how meaningful! The army has arrived; all have arms (pebbles) in their hands and are ready to fire. When you reach the first idol, do not shoot - but pass by. When you reach the second idol, do not shoot but pass by. When you reach the third idol, do not pass by, but shoot!Why? Those wise and experienced teachers usually tell us to quietly and gradually take turns in a sequential way but here Ibrahim is the Commander and orders:
“SHOOT THE LAST ONE IN YOUR FIRST ATTACK”! “DID YOU SHOOT?” “YES” “HOW MANY TIMES?” “SEVEN!” “ARE YOU SURE THEY HIT THE TARGET?” “I AM SURE.” “DID YOU HIT THE BELLY OR THE LEGS?” “NONE!” “DID YOU HIT HIS BACK?” “NO.” “DID YOU HIT HIS HEAD AND FACE?” “YES, I DID.” “WELL DONE!”
The fight is over. When the last idol falls, the first and second ones can not resist. The last idol supports the other two. After leaving the front, you have nothing more to do except make the sacrifice Then you may announce and celebrate your victory! Take off your ihram put on your desired clothing, cut your hair, use perfume if you want and embrace your spouse. You are free now! You are a man! Mina is conquered by you and Satan is defeated. What am I saying? You are Ibrahim now! You are in the position to sacrifice your Ismail for Him.
Maybe a stretch and maybe coincidental. Maybe not.
In the Wikipedia article on Shariati, there is a link to another article, “Ali Shariati, Islamic Fundamentalist, Marxist Ideologue, and Sufi Mystic.”
In my own opinion it’s way too early to have an answer on what motivated this killer. So I offer this FWIW.
Here’s something from a book called “Ishmael” by DEN Southworth-——
As to what brought me back to the neighborhood, Hannah, it was to do some business for the judge, and to buy some stock for the farm. But there, my dear! that boy has slipped out, and is cutting the wood; I’ll go and do it for him,” said Reuben, as the sound of Ishmael’s ax fell upon his ears.
Hannah arose and followed Gray to the door, and there before it stood Ishmael, chopping away at random, upon the pile of wood, his cheeks flushed with fever and his eyes wild with excitement.
“Hannah, he is ill; he is very ill; he doesn’t well know what he is about,” said Reuben, taking the ax from the boy’s hand.
“Ishmael, Ishmael, my lad, come in; you are not well enough to work,” said Hannah anxiously.