Chattanooga police name officers who shot and killed July 16 attacker

FBI investigators work the scene of the July, 16 shooting at the Naval Operational Support Center on Amnicola Highway on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Police today named the five officers who shot and killed Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez to end the 24-year-old's attack on two military sites in Chattanooga on July 16.

Officers Sean O'Brien, Grover Wilson, Jeff Lancaster, Keven Flanagan and Lucas Timmons fired their weapons.

Police also officially ruled that the officers were justified when they used deadly force that day, as Abdulazeez opened fire in an attack that the Federal Bureau of Investigation said was inspired by a foreign terrorist organization.

"The officers who fired their weapons on this tragic day did so in heroic defense of themselves and others," Chief Fred Fletcher said in a statement. "There is no evidence that this use of force was anything other than justified. I am proud of their actions and humbled by the risks they faced."

Abdulazeez, armed with an assault rifle, a handgun and numerous rounds of ammunition, began his attack at a military recruiting center on Lee Highway around 10:50 a.m. on July 16. He shot into the storefront offices from a rented Mustang convertible, sending Marine recruiters diving for cover and wounding Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley.

Then he drove across town to the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway and charged into the building, firing at anyone he encountered. He wore a load-bearing vest so he could carry extra ammunition.

Lt. Cmdr. Tim White saw Abdulazeez running into the building and opened fire with a personal weapon, but was unable to stop Abdulazeez.

The Marines inside the reserve either hid or fled out the back of the building, hopping a fence at the edge of the property to get to safety. Some Marines willingly put themselves in danger in order to warn others.

Abdulazeez killed four Marines and mortally wounded a U.S. Navy specialist. He followed the escaping Marines out the back of the building, then tried turn around and go back into the reserve.

That's when he was shot and killed by Chattanooga police officers. Officer Dennis Pedigo was wounded in the firefight.

Mayor Andy Berke applauded the officers' actions on Monday.

"These officers operated as they had been trained, ensuring the incident was over as quickly as possible," he said.

Chattanooga police plan to release additional details later today.

Stay with the Times Free Press for updates on this developing story.