Saturday, July 18, 2015

Navy sailor dies, becoming fifth serviceman killed in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Reuters) - A male U.S. Navy petty officer has died of wounds sustained in this week's shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the U.S. Navy said on Saturday, raising the number of people killed in the attack to five.

The suspected shooter, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti-born naturalized U.S. citizen, also died on Thursday in a firefight with police after the rampage at a military recruiting office and a training center six miles away.

The Navy's brief statement did not identify the petty officer who died or provide his age or hometown.

But his step-grandmother identified him as Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith of Paulding, Ohio, who left behind a wife and three young daughters.

"He was an awesome young man," Darlene Proxmire told Reuters. "He loved his wife and children. He loved the Navy."

Four U.S. Marines were also killed in the attack and two other people, a Marine and a police officer, were wounded.

A little more than 24 hours after the shooting, the FBI said it continued to investigate it as an act of terrorism and that it was "premature" to speculate on the motive.

"We are exploring all travel that he has done and we have asked our intelligence partners throughout the world to provide us with any information they may have," Ed Reinhold, FBI special agent in charge, said during a news conference on Friday.

The suspect traveled to Jordan and possibly other Middle Eastern countries for seven months last year, according to authorities, who are looking for any signs of a connection to Islamist militants.

Investigators will try to establish if he was part of an organization or the latest "lone wolf" militant. President Barack Obama has said radicalized individuals acting on their own pose a greater risk to the country than a large-scale operation.

Ramadan death toll is now at 6,437.