One of the Marines killed in last week’s assault on a military facility in Chattanooga, as well as a Navy officer, reportedly returned fire on the attacker via their personal weapons.
The Navy Times cited several military officials with knowledge of the internal investigation on the shooting that left four Marines and one sailor dead and two others wounded, and reported Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White – the commanding officer for the Navy Operational Support Center – likely fired his personal weapon at Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez .
The newspaper also said the Marine fired his personal 9mm Glock at the attacker.
This infallible argument for armed self-defense presents real stories of Americans fighting back – and surviving because they were armed. “America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense In A Violent Age” is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered if concealed carry can actually save and protect.
The news adds a bit of a twist to the investigation, given the Defense Department prohIbits anyone but military police and law enforcement from carrying weapons on federal sites. That policy has come under intense review in the days since the attack, and some say it’s time for a change. And perhaps that change is coming, sooner rather than later.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, retiring Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno seemed to backtrack on comments he made a few days ago in which he doubled-down on the prohibition of military members carrying personal weapons on federal spots. He now says the Army might revoke that policy.
“When it comes to recruiting stations, we are looking at it now – what are we doing now to best protect them,” Odierno said in a sit-down interview as he prepared to leave the Army after 39 years of service, Fox News reported. “We will look at every avenue – arming them, there is some authority issues with that so we have to look all the way through that.”
The news of the Marine firing his own sidearm also paints the five who died in the hail of gunfire in a different light – as possible heroes.
One official close to the investigation said to the New York Times: “This [incident] could have been a lot worse. It could have been a horrible, horrible massacre – so much worse.”
Abdulazeez opened fire on the first facility, a recruiting office, from his rented, silver Mustang convertible and never got out. He then went to a joint Marine-Navy facility about seven miles away.
Maj. Gen. Paul W. Brier, commanding general of the 4th Marine Division, said 20 Marines and two Navy corpsman were inspecting the joint facility when the attack happened on Thursday. He said several service members “ran back into the fight” after ushering their colleagues to safety.
Ed Reinhold, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Knoxville, said during a news conference Wednesday that a service member fired at Abdulazeez after he crashed the car through the gates of the facility.
Reinhold said the gunman shot several people as he made his way through the building. Abdulazeez then went out the back, and killed two more people outside before being shot dead by Chattanooga police in a firefight exchange of hundreds of bullets.
Asked if anyone was hit by friendly fire, Reinhold said preliminary reports indicated the four Marines and one sailor killed were struck by bullets from the same gun.
Those killed were Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sulllivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist and Lance Cpl. Squire Wells, as well as Navy petty officer second class Randall Smith.
Investigators say it is too early to determine whether Abdulazeez was “radicalized” before the attacks. However, they are treating him as a “homegrown violent extremist,” according to Reinhold.
Abdulazeez, a naturalized American citizen, was born in Kuwait to Jordanian parents, but lived most of his life in the Chattanooga area. Investigators are combing through his electronic communications and his travel history, including a seven-month stay in Jordan last year.
One of his uncles has been detained in Jordan for questioning.