Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez bought ammunition from the Hixson Wal-Mart as recently as July 11 for the shooting rampage five days later that stunned Chattanooga and left five U.S. military personnel dead, FBI officials said.
U.S. flags have flown off the shelves since then at the Hixson Wal-Mart and other area stores, sold to residents who want to show their support for the fallen. Chattanooga-area businesses, meanwhile, also are flying flags, putting tributes on billboards and even setting aside empty bar stools to honor the victims.
"I'd say we're selling [U.S. flags] pretty good," said Amber Miller, Hixson Wal-Mart customer service manager. "I think we were out of them the other day. I've had people that day and since, they've approached me and asked me where the flags are."
Wanting to attend Monday's rally at the Lee Highway memorial site, Morgan Mason of Cleveland, Tenn., had a hard time finding American flags.
"Sportsman's [Warehouse] sold out yesterday, Cabela's sold out, we went to Wal-Mart in Athens. They were all gone," Mason said.
She finally found some at Target. Once home, she lashed one of the flags to an old broom handle so it could fly.
"I had to be resourceful," she said.
In Red Bank, where Abdulazeez went to elementary, middle and high school, the Ace Hardware store on Dayton Boulevard also had a run on U.S. flags.
"We actually sold out," store manager Chris Scutella said. "We sold out and put in our order today [for more flags]."
A giant TV billboard owned by Fairway in the parking lot at Lowe's Home Improvement store on Highway 153 in Hixson had tributes to police and fallen servicemen interspersed with ads.
One tribute showed four U.S. Marine dress caps, to represent the Marines slain during the July 16 rampage, and a sailor's cap for the U.S. Navy petty officer who died later of injuries. Another showed the badges of the Chattanooga Police Department and Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the words "Thank You."
Several restaurants set up displays to honor the fallen sailor and Marines.
Logan's Roadhouse on Gunbarrel Road set a table with a draped Marine flag, black napkins and a U.S. flag folded as in a military funeral.
On Friday night, Mellow Mushroom in downtown Chattanooga saved four bar stools, along with a plate, a name tag and shot of whiskey at its bar to honor each of the slain. That grew to five settings on Saturday and Sunday nights, after the sailor's death was announced Saturday.
"I saw it on the Internet, and decided to replicate it at our restaurant," bartender Brooks Northern said.
Staff writer Kate Belz contributed to this report.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or www.facebook.com/tim.omarzu or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.