The latest: investigators work to reconstruct what happened at military installations

The latest: investigators work to reconstruct what happened at military installations

July 18th, 2015 by Associated Press and Staff Report in Local Regional News

Law enforcement work around the Chattanooga Police's bomb squad truck.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Michael Hart, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, kneels at a memorial outside the Marine Corps Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway on July 18, 2015.

Michael Hart, a Navy veteran who served in...

Photo by Mary Helen Montgomery /Times Free Press.

9 p.m.

The mother of one of the Marines slain in Tennessee Thursday visited the memorial garden at the metro Atlanta high school that her son attended.

Cathy Wells visited the memorial dedicated to her 21-year-old son Lance Cpl. Skip Wells at Sprayberry High School on Saturday. Wells graduated from the Cobb County school in 2012.

Andy Kingery, a spokesman for Wells' family said, "Cathy was able to soak in the loving tributes left by so many. We have collected many of the sealed letters and items to keep forever."

A memorial service will be held for Wells, of Marietta, at the school's stadium at 7 p.m.on Tuesday.

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A man and woman comfort one another by a makeshift memorial outside the Armed Forces Career Center, Friday, July 17, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Counterterrorism investigators are trying to figure out why a 24-year-old Kuwait-born man, who by accounts lived a typical life in suburban America, attacked the career center and a Navy-Marine training center a few miles away in a shooting rampage that killed four Marines. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

...

Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

7 p.m.

FBI teams are continuing to collect and process evidence collected at the two Chattanooga military sites attacked Thursday as investigators work to reconstruct what happened, according to a news release issued Saturday.

Also on scene at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station and the Navy Operations Support Center, which are located about 7 miles apart, is a team from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office covering eastern Tennessee.

As FBI agents served a warrant on the family home of accused shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez on Thursday, two women wearing Islamic head coverings were seen being led away in handcuffs. It is not unusual for federal agents to temporarily detain individuals found at a location where there is potential evidence in a criminal investigation.

FBI spokesman, Special Agent Jason Pack, said Saturday that no arrests have been made in the case.

The whereabouts of the Abdulazeez family are not immediately known. Efforts by the Associated Press to reach them by phone and at their home following the shootings have been unsuccessful.

The FBI is urging anyone with information that might aid the investigation to call (865) 602-7582. Various state and federal law enforcement agencies are following up on more than 200 leads collected through the tip line, according to the release.

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Bassam Issa

Bassam Issa

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

6 p.m.

The president of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga says the father of the man accused in Thursday's shootings apologized to him.

He said the father of Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez called him crying and was very distraught and broken. He said he was very sorry for what his son did and that he never saw it coming. He knew that his son had done so much harm to Chattanooga and to the families of those who died, said Issa. 

"This boy has destroyed his family forever," said Issa.

Issa told the Associated Press he could not recall on Saturday exactly when he spoke to Youssuf Saed Abdulazeez, the shooter's father. He believed it was a very short call either Thursday evening or Friday morning.

"He told me that he had never seen it coming, and did not see any signs from his son that he would be that way and do something like that."

Issa said he had not spoken to Abdulazeez since that call.

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Gallery: Recruiting Center shooting

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5:30 p.m.

The man accused in the Chattanooga shootings was stopped by a police officer early on the morning of April 20 while driving erratically, according to an arrest report released by authorities on Saturday.

According to the report, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez was stopped for failing to maintain his lane, driving about 10 miles per hour and stopping at green lights. He was "acting very lethargic," had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol and "burnt marijuana," the arresting officer wrote.

The officer also wrote that he noticed "a white powdery substance" under Abdulazeez's nostrils, and that he appeared unsteady attempting to stand.

Abdulazeez told the officer that he had crushed and snorted caffeine pills, and that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana with friends. He was then placed under arrest, shown smirking in his booking photo from the Hamilton County jail.

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Mohammad Youssduf Adbulazeez, the shooter in Chattanooga attack on military facilities that left 6 dead and 2 wounded, including the dead shooter, is pictured as a mixed martial arts fighter.

Mohammad Youssduf Adbulazeez, the shooter in Chattanooga...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

5 p.m.

Something happened to Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez after he traveled to the Middle East to spend time there, according to several credible reports. 

"He never became close to me like he was before he went overseas. ... I'm sure he had something that happened to him overseas," said Abdulrazzak Brizada, who described himself to CNN as a friend. 

Reuters has reported that hours before the Chattanooga gunman attacked two military installations, he texted a friend a link to an Islamic verse that included the line: "Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of mine, then I have declared war against him."

Reuters did not identity the name of the friend because he requested anonymity. The friend told the international news agency, which operates in a similar fashion to the Associated Press, that the shooter, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, returned from a trip to Jordan in 2014 and bought three assault rifles.

CNN has also reported that the shooter had several guns, and would go shooting as a hobby. The news agency has reported that police seized four guns.

"He expressed that he was upset about (the Middle East). But I can't imagine it drove him to this," said the friend who received the text message, according to Reuters. 

Abdulazeez's trip to Jordan has become a focal point of the investigation into why the devout 24-year-old chose to open fire on Marines, sailors and police officers in Chattanooga on Thursday. He also traveled to Kuwait and Jordan in 2010. 

Other friends told Reuters that Abdulazeez was upset about Israel's bombing of Gaza, and the civil war in Syria. One of his friends, who Reuters said asked not to be identified for fear of a backlash, said Abdulazeez was upset about the effect of U.S. influence in the region.

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FBI Special Agent Ed Reinhold, left, speaks as Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher , center, and USMC Captain Ty Balzer, right, listen from behind during a press conference at Tennessee Valley Authority's Missionary Ridge Auditorium on Friday, July 17, 2015 the day after a four Marines were shot and killed. The investigation is being treated as an act of terrorism.

FBI Special Agent Ed Reinhold, left, speaks as...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

4:30 p.m.

The FBI released this statement:

Evidence Response teams from the FBI Knoxville, Atlanta, Memphis offices and experts from the FBI Laboratory continue to process crime scenes at the Lee Highway Armed Forces Recruiting Station and the Navy Operations Support Center on Amnicola Highway .  Agents are expected to complete the Lee Highway processing late Saturday.  The Amnicola Highway scene will take a few days longer. 

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service's Major Crimes Response team is also on scene assisting the FBI Evidence Response Teams with crime scene processing.

Leads continue to pour into the tip line:  (865) 602-7582.  Teams of FBI, ATF, Naval Criminal Intelligence Service, U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, and HSI agents, Tennessee state troopers, Chattanooga police officers, and FBI Task Force Officers from many surrounding jurisdictions have received more than 200 leads they are following.

The United States Attorney's Office is on scene navigating legal issues and assisting with obtaining any legal process that might be necessary.

Victim Witness Specialists from the FBI and United States Attorney's office hosted a meeting between federal, state, and local officials and family members to update them on the current status of the investigation.

Lt. General Richard P. Mills, Commander of the Marine Forces Reserve and Rear Admiral Jackson, commander, Naval Region Southeast also met individually with affected family members. 

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Gallery: Puzzling out answers, pouring out grief

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4 p.m.

Family and friends of one of the Marines slain in Tennessee are planning a memorial service at the high school he attended in metro Atlanta.

The public service for 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Skip Wells of Marietta will be held atTuesday at Sprayberry High School. Wells graduated from the Cobb County school in 2012.

Andy Kingery, a spokesman for Wells' family, said the memorial is being planned for 7 p.m. at the school's stadium, though some details are still being finalized.

Wells was among four Marines and one Navy sailor killed Thursday by a gunman at a military facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Wells was texting with his girlfriend in Georgia that morning about her coming to visit when he sent her a final message: "ACTIVE SHOOTER."

Kingery said funeral arrangements for Wells are still pending.

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Gallery: After the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities

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3 p.m.

A wrestling coach who trained Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez at Red Bank High School in suburban Chattanooga recalls him as someone who was mature beyond his years.

Kevin Emily said Abdulazeez, blamed by authorities in the shooting deaths of four Marines and a sailor, seemed to have an inner peace that prevented him from becoming ruffled even after losing a match.

"Whoever that was who did those things two days I don't know," Emily, now a wrestling coach in Iowa, said Saturday in a telephone interview.

Abdulazeez, who graduated high school in 2008, was well-liked and respected by his teammates, but Emily said he didn't recall him dating in high school or having a girlfriend.

Wrestling is an intense sport and participants have to "be able to turn it on and turn it off," Emily said, but Abdulazeez had an unusually calm demeanor.

"I can't recall him getting mad even when he got beat," he said.

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Gallery: Chattanoogans gather at prayer vigil after recruiting center shootings

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1:10 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he has authorized the adjutant general of the Texas National Guard to arm Guardsmen at military facilities across Texas.

Abott joins governors in Florida, Louisiana and other states in the call to arm Guardsmen after a gunman attacked a recruiting center and a Marine-Navy reserve facility in Chattanooga earlier this week.

"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," Abbott said. "Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our servicemen and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base."

U.S. military officials have said they will review security measures for their recruiters but that it's too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection.

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100 soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard's 252nd Military Police Company.

100 soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard's...

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

11:35 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering National Guard recruiters at six storefront locations to be relocated to their nearest armory after the shootings at military facilities in Tennessee.

Scott announced the order Saturday. He wants a review of security at the Guard recruitment centers, possibly installing bullet-proof glass at the storefronts or video surveillance equipment.

U.S. military officials have said security at recruiting and reserve centers will be reviewed, but the Army's top officer said it's too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection.

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U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith has died, after being shot in Chattanooga, Tenn., on July 16, 2015.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith has died,...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

8:50 a.m.

The U.S. Navy says a sailor who was shot in the attack on a military facility in Chattanooga has died, raising the death toll to five people.

The death occurred two days after a gunman killed four Marines during a shooting rampage on two military facilities.

Authorities say Kuwait-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, unleashed a barrage of fire at a recruiting center in Chattanooga, then drove several miles away to a Navy and Marine reserve center, where he shot and killed the Marines, and wounded the sailor who died. Abdulazeez was shot to death by police.

The Navy statement did not give the sailor's name. He was identified by family as Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga.

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