Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, the Chattanooga shooter who murdered four marines on Thursday, claimed one more life today–even though he himself was shot dead during the attack. A U.S. Navy sailor died at the hospital from the injuries he sustained during the Chattanooga massacre, bringing the death toll to five.
According to the Huffington Post, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith succumbed to his injuries at 2:17 a.m. this morning (Saturday, July 18). Smith was a native of Ohio who was serving on active duty from the reserves when Abdulazeez began his Chattanooga rampage. The sailor was among many who was wounded during the Chattanooga shooting, but the only one so far to pass away after initially surviving the attack.
CBS News reported that Randall Smith died with family members by his side. His step mother, Darlene Proxmire, spoke to CBS about the fallen sailor.
“He was a very passionate, loving young man. Loved his family, and obviously he loved his country… He loved the Navy. As a matter of fact, just before this happened, he joined up again, and then this happened.”
The United States Navy also issued a statement regarding the death of Randall Smith as a result of the Chattanooga shooting, but did not identify the man by name. Randall Smith reportedly joined the Navy after he injured his shoulder and could no longer attend college on a baseball scholarship.
According to the authorities, 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez took the lives of Smith and the four marines by arming himself with two long rifles and a handgun and firing at a recruitment center in Chattanooga. After that attack, he drove to a Marine and Navy reserve center where he shot Randall Smith and the other victims before Chattanooga police officers gunned him down.
Abdulazeez reportedly visited a gun range regularly to shoot rifles, BB guns and pistols with a group of friends. Some may consider this behavior a warning sign of his intentions to start a mass shooting, but a bulletin from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security claims, “it is difficult to assess triggers that will contribute to U.S.-based violent extremists attempting acts of violence… lone offenders present law enforcement with limited opportunities to detect and disrupt plots, which frequently involve widely available small arms against perceived targets of opportunity.”
In fact, some of the guns the Chattanooga shooter obtained were purchased legally, according to the Huffington Post. FBI special agent Ed Reinhold revealed in a press conference that some of his weapons were legally obtained and others were not, but did not provide any further details.
“It is clear that this gunman had every intent to encounter and murder police officers,” said Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher. “The Chattanooga police prevented loss of life yesterday.”
For more on the Chattanooga killer, read about his cryptic blog posts and what they suggest about the Chattanooga attack.
[Image credit: Family Photo and AP]