CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., – For the first time since the attack, the FBI has linked a July shooting at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Navy Reserve facility to terrorism.
Speaking to reporters last week in New York, FBI Director James Comey said the attack at the facility was “inspired by terrorist organization propaganda.”
Gunman Mohammad Abdulazeez had initially targeted a military recruiting center on July 16 prior to driving to the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center seven miles away. Abdulazeez killed four U.S. Marines and injured a sailor at that facility.
The individuals killed were Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan of Hampden, Massachusetts; Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt of Burke, North Carolina; Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist of Polk, Wisconsin; and Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells of Cobb County, Georgia.
Abdulazeez was ultimately shot and killed by five police officers after leaving the building and attempting to re-enter.
On Monday, Chattanooga police identified the five officers who fired at Abdulazeez: Sean O’Brien, Grover Wilson, Jeff Lancaster, Keven Flanagan and Lucas Timmons.
CBS news reported Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait and had traveled to both Kuwait and Jordan before the attacks.
Abdulazeez earned an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012 and worked as an intern for the Tennessee Valley Authority, a government owned utility provider which operated throughout the region. Abdulazeez also worked for Superior Essex Inc., a company that designs and creates wire and cable products.
“This really comes as no surprise, and that’s unfortunate,” said Tennessee State Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden). “The Tennessee General Assembly will be working to strengthen our refugee immigration policies. In addition, every single gun-owner should be ready and prepared to take a stand for their life should the need to do so arise.”
Tennessee lawmakers are currently pushing for the state attorney general to sue the Obama administration over the placement of Syrian refugees by joining a lawsuit spearheaded by the Thomas More Law Center.
“We currently have the opportunity to sue the federal government in order to take a stand for our sovereignty,” said Tennessee State Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia). “Only when our leaders are united can we take bold stand for our state.”
The Governor and State Attorney General have yet to indicate whether or not they will move forward with the lawsuit.
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Michael Lotfi is a Persian-American political analyst and adviser living in Nashville, Tennessee. Lotfi is the founder and CEO of BrandFire Consulting LLC. The firm specializes in public and private technology centered brand development, lead generation, data aggregation, online fundraising, social media, advertising, content generation, public relations, constituency management systems, print and more. Lotfi is the former executive state director for the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center, a think-tank focused on restraining federal overreach. Lotfi graduated with top honors from Belmont University, a private Christian university located in Nashville, Tennessee.