New reports today that the gunman who attacked the Navy facility in Chattanooga last week was not the only one carrying a weapon. Sources are now saying that at least two officers at the Navy Operational Support Center had weapons on them, and tried to kill or subdue the gunman.
According to multiple military officials familiar with the investigation, the support center’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, used his personal firearm to engage Muhammad Abdulazeez when he stormed into the facility and opened fire.
One of the Marines killed in the attack, was reportedly also carrying a weapon and used his sidearm to try and stop the gunman, who murdered four Marines and a sailor on July 16th. The slain Marine– according to a report by the Washington Post — may have been carrying a 9mm Glock and possibly returned fire on the gunman.
According to the Navy Times, “Authorities will not know whether White or the Marine hit Abdulazeez until an autopsy and ballistics assessment are performed.”
It’s unclear why the two service members were armed in the first place. Only military police and law enforcement are permitted to carry weapons on federal property.
A source close to the investigation said details of the rampage’s last few minutes remain unclear.
The shootings began the morning of July 16 when, the FBI said, Abdulazeez fired dozens of rounds into a strip mall recruiting station in Chattanooga. He then drove across town to the Navy support center, and officials say, police responding to the first shooting passed the Navy support center en route.
The five service members killed in the attack were Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, and Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith.