Wounded sailor dies in Tenn.

Navy petty of­fi­cer slain with Marines in Tenn. rampage was a re­servist

The Washington Post Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - BY ADAM GOLD­MAN AND DAVID A. FAHREN­THOLD adam.gold­man@wash­post.com david.fahren­thold@wash­post.com Thomas Gib­bons-Neff in Chat­tanooga and Missy Ryan, Sari Horwitz and Julie Tate in Washington con­trib­uted to this re­port.

A Navy petty of­fi­cer and fa­ther of three shot in the Chat­tanooga rampage died early Satur­day.

A Navy sailor wounded dur­ing a shoot­ing rampage Thurs­day in Chat­tanooga, Tenn., died early Satur­day, mak­ing him the fifth U.S. ser­vice mem­ber to die in the at­tack.

Petty Of­fi­cer 2nd Class Ran­dall Smith, 26, was a mar­ried fa­ther of three chil­dren and an ac­tive-duty Navy re­servist. He died at 2:17 a.m. Satur­day in a nearby hos­pi­tal.

“He loved his fam­ily,” said Smith’s step-grand­mother, Dar­lene Prox­mire, in a phone in­ter­view. “His wife and his three lit­tle girls were his whole world.”

Four Marines were also killed in the at­tack. Like Smith, they were shot at a Navy oper­a­tions cen­ter by a gun­man who drove his car through an outer fence, got out, then opened fire in­side the build­ing.

Aveteran Chat­tanooga po­lice of­fi­cer, Sgt. Dennis Pedigo, was wounded in the an­kle.

On Satur­day, author­i­ties were still try­ing to un­der­stand the mo­tives of the gun­man, 24-year-old Mo­ham­mad Youssef Ab­du­lazeez. He was killed by po­lice at the Navy build­ing af­ter first fir­ing at a mil­i­tary re­cruit­ing store­front sev­eral miles away, author­i­ties said. So far, author­i­ties think that he acted alone.

The FBI was still try­ing to de­ter­mine whether Ab­du­lazeez had any links to ter­ror­ist groups or was rad­i­cal­ized on the In­ter­net. One U.S. of­fi­cial cau­tioned it could take sev­eral more days be­fore the FBI reached any con­clu­sions.

Ab­du­lazeez’s fam­ily, which lives in nearby Hixson, Tenn., was co­op­er­at­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said a per­son who had spo­ken with the fam­ily.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said they found four dif­fer­ent guns at the sec­ond shoot­ing scene: two hand­guns, a shot­gun and an as­sault ri­fle that was a Kalash­nikov vari­ant. At least three of the guns— the as­sault ri­fle, the shot­gun and one hand­gun — were be­lieved to be­long to Ab­du­lazeez.

A friend, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to pro­tect his fam­ily, said Ab­du­lazeez liked to shoot guns and in the last year had bought two as­sault ri­fles— an AK74 and an AR-15 — as well as a Saiga-12 pis­tol-grip shot­gun from an online weapons site.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were un­sure whether the other hand­gun be­longed to Ab­du­lazeez.

Over­all, author­i­ties said they were fol­low­ing more than 200 leads in the case, in­clud­ing tips that had come in via a hot line at 865602-7582. On Satur­day, they said, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and “vic­tim wit­ness spe­cial­ists” had met with fam­ily mem­bers of the vic­tims, as did top of­fi­cials from the Navy and the Marine Corps Re­serve.

Across the coun­try on Satur­day, gover­nors in sev­eral states — in­clud­ing In­di­ana, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Ok­la­homa — is­sued or­ders that would al­low more Na­tional Guard per­son­nel to carry weapons for pro­tec­tion.

“It is with a heavy heart that I is­sue this or­der,” Texas Gov. Greg Ab­bott (R) said in a writ­ten state­ment. “Af­ter the re­cent shoot­ing in Chat­tanooga, it has be­come clear that our mil­i­tary per­son­nel must have the abil­ity to de­fend them­selves against these type of at­tacks on our own soil.”

The De­fense Depart­ment gen­er­ally pro­hibits ser­vice mem­bers from car­ry­ing pri­vate con­cealed weapons on U.S. bases and only al­lows cer­tain peo­ple — mainly mil­i­tary po­lice and sen­tries — to carry weapons at all.

But gover­nors over­see their states’ own Guard forces, and may change the rules at state-owned Guard fa­cil­i­ties.

In ad­di­tion, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) or­dered­his state’s Na­tional Guard to move its re­cruiters from six store­front lo­ca­tions around the state and put them in ar­mories un­til the store­fronts could be bet­ter se­cured.

Scott also said the state would speed up the pro­cess­ing of per­sonal con­cealed-weapons per­mits for any Na­tional Guard mem­bers who ap­plied.


Jason Brown, right, and Josh Cox plant a cross with the name of the fifth shoot­ing vic­tim, Navy sailor Ran­dall Smith, on it Satur­day in Chat­tanooga, Tenn., at a me­mo­rial site.

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