Fifth per­son dies in Chat­tanooga at­tack

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD - By Dan Lamothe and Missy ryan

The sailor who was killed in Thurs­day’s shoot­ing rampage in Chat­tanooga, Tenn., was a mar­ried fa­ther of three girls and a for­mer high school base­ball star who had joined the Navy in 2010.

Petty Of­fi­cer 2nd Class Ran­dall Smith, 26, died at 2:17 a.m. Satur­day of in­juries he suf­fered on Thurs­day af­ter­noon. He was shot three times in the at­tack and had un­der­gone surgery.

Both the Navy and Dar­lene Prox­mire, a step-grand­mother in Ohio, con­firmed his iden­tity.

Smith en­listed in the Navy in 2010 and was a lo­gis­tics spe­cial­ist, the Navy said in a state­ment. For three years, he was as­signed to the USS Wasp, an am­phibi­ous as­sault ship that has a home port in Nor­folk, Va. He be­gan his as­sign­ment in Chat­tanooga in Au­gust.

Smith was from Pauld­ing, Ohio, a county seat near the In­di­ana bor­der with about 3,500 res­i­dents.

He pitched for the Pauld­ing High School Pan­thers base­ball team.

“It is with great sad­ness that a grad­u­ate of Pauld­ing passed away due to in­juries sus­tained in Chat­tanooga,” Pauld­ing County Sher­iff Jason Lan­ders said on Satur­day in a state­ment.

Ohio Gov. John Ka­sich also of­fered his con­do­lences in a tweet that said “Ohio has lost another hero. Prayers for Ran­dall Smith of Pauld­ing Co & his fam­ily.”

Prox­mire said he had ac­cepted a schol­ar­ship to play base­ball at De­fi­ance Col­lege, a Di­vi­sion III school in De­fi­ance, Ohio. But Smith in­jured his shoul­der and chose to en­list in the Navy af­ter- ward, she said.

The col­lege said he at­tended for one se­mes­ter in the fall of 2007.

On a Face­book page that ap­peared to be­long to Smith, he talked about his wife — “4 years ago I mar­ried the per­fect wom- an,” he wrote in Jan­uary — and their three chil­dren. “Angie is at work and I get to spend all day with the 3 lit­tle Princesses.… no bet­ter way to spend Fa­ther’s Day,” he wrote in June.

“He loved his fam­ily,” Prox­mire said in a phone in­ter­view. “His wife and his three lit­tle girls were his whole world.”

A friend, Cory Sholl, told CNN that he’d played sports with Smith when the two friends were grow­ing up in Ohio.

“He’s an out­go­ing guy; he’s a fun guy; he’s some­one you’d want to be around,” Sholl told CNN on Fri­day. In re­cent years, Smith had be­come a “fam­ily man” fo­cused on his ca­reer, Sholl said.

On his Face­book page, Smith also wrote about his love for the Hous­ton Astros base­ball team and the U.S. women’s soc­cer team, and he also wrote re­peat­edly about the need to raise money for can­cer re­search.

On Me­mo­rial Day, he also posted a photo of a young mother and child em­brac­ing next to the grave­stone of a fallen ser­vice mem­ber at Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery. “Me­mo­rial Day,” the text on the photo said. “In case you thought it was about a 3 day week­end, par­ties or the beach.”

Joe Raedle / Getty Im­ages

Ash­ley Mont­gomery, whose hus­band is a Navy sailor, pays her re­spects Satur­day at a me­mo­rial at the Armed Forces Ca­reer Cen­ter/Na­tional Guard Re­cruit­ment Of­fice in Chat­tanooga, Tenn. Five peo­ple were killed by Mo­ham­mod Yous­suf Ab­du­lazeez, 24, who later was slain by po­lice.

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