Sources: Navy officer, Marine shot at Chattanooga gunman

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Sources tell Navy Times that Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, commanding officer of the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., fired on Muhammad Abdulazeez hoping to kill or wound the gunman who murdered five service members last week. (Photo: Navy)
Sources tell Navy Times that Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, commanding officer of the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., fired on Muhammad Abdulazeez hoping to kill or wound the gunman who murdered five service members last week.
(Photo: Navy)

Navy Times A Navy officer and a Marine fired their sidearms hoping to kill or subdue the gunman who murdered five service members last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to multiple military officials familiar with internal reporting on the tragedy.

It remains unclear whether either hit Muhammad Abdulazeez, who was shot and killed Thursday after he gunned down four Marines and a sailor at the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga. It’s also unclear why they were armed, as it is against Defense Department policy for anyone other than military police or law enforcement to carry weapons on federal property.

A report was distributed among senior Navy leaders during the shooting’s aftermath saying Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center’s commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage Abdulazeez, Navy Times has confirmed with four separate sources. A Navy official also confirmed Monday’s Washington Post report indicating one of the slain Marines may have been carrying a 9mm Glock and possibly returned fire on the gunman.

The various law enforcement agencies investigating the Chattanooga shooting have declined to comment. A source close to the investigation said details of the rampage’s last few minutes remain unclear, but that no information has emerged to contradict the Navy’s internal findings.

Authorities will not know whether White or the Marine hit Abdulazeez until an autopsy and ballistics assessment are performed.

Several attempts to contact White have proven unsuccessful.

The shootings in Chattanooga unfolded on the morning of July 16 when, the FBI says, Abdulazeez pumped dozens of rounds into a strip mall recruiting station before driving across town to the Navy support center. No one was killed inside the recruiting station.

Police responding to the first shooting had to pass the Navy support center en route, and some were diverted to the scene of the second attack, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Killed in the attack were Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt and Sgt. Carson Holmquist. Navy Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith died early Saturday morning from wounds sustained during the shooting.