WASHINGTON, Purple Hearts will be awarded to the four Marines and Sailor who were killed and the Marine who was injured in what has been determined a terror attack in Chattanooga last July.
The Purple Hearts will be awarded posthumously to the five servicemen killed and also to the Marine who was wounded in the attack. The FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service concluded the mass shooting at the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga was inspired by a foreign terror organization.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith were killed and Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was injured during the July shooting by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who is also responsible for a previous attack at a military recruiting station.
Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Kuwait, was killed by police in a shootout at the center.
“We’ve investigated Chattanooga as a terror attack from the beginning,” FBI Director James Comey said at press conference in New York City. “The Chattanooga killer was inspired by a foreign terror organization. It’s hard to entangle which particular source…there are lots of competing poisons out there.”
A few hours after the press conference, the Secretary of the Navy announced the awarding of Purple Hearts.
“Following an extensive investigation, the FBI and NCIS have determined that this attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group, the final criteria required for the awarding of the Purple Heart to this Sailor and these Marines,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in a statement.
By Shawn Price