Makeshift memorials grow as a city moves through waves of grief

Christy Tucker, Morgan Mason and Lauren Lindsey, from left, wave flags and signs on Monday in front of the Lee Highway memorial set up for last Thursday's Chattanooga shooting victims.

At first, just a few flags jutted out of the grass outside of the military recruitment office on Lee Highway.

Later, someone added a few flowers. Then a cross, and a child's toy.

But by Monday morning, a sea of red, white and blue surrounded the perimeter of the strip mall where Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, first opened fire on recruiters Thursday, before speeding to the U.S. Naval and Marine Resource Center on Amnicola Highway where he killed four Marines and a Navy petty officer.

While a makeshift memorial also has sprung up near the Amnicola site, the Lee Highway strip mall has morphed into the destination for Chattanoogans who need to reckon with what happened Thursday.

It is a place for people to quietly grieve, kneeling among the flags, wiping tears.

It has become a place to express anger.