SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Massachusetts Marine killed by a gunman in Tennessee earlier this month was remembered Monday by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield as "exemplary" and "a leader and a man of true courage."
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40, a Springfield native, was one of five service members killed by a gunman in Chattanooga on July 16. The gunman was killed by police.
"His deep love for his family, his selfless dedication to being a Marine and his solid faith in God helped Tommy through the many challenges that he faced in training for service, in his deployments to Iraq, in being a leader for his fellow Marines and facing the danger on July 16, when he and his brothers in service heroically thought of others above themselves," Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said at the private funeral Mass.
The Mass at Holy Cross Church — the church Sullivan attended as a child — was attended by family, friends, active duty Marines and dignitaries, including Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
Hundreds of Springfield residents lined the streets as the procession made its way from the funeral home to the church, many waving U.S. flags.
A bagpiper played the Marine Corps hymn outside the church.
Rozanski made several references to Sullivan's faith. Sullivan attended Catholic schools, including Cathedral High School, and received his confirmation at Boston College.
"As a follower of Jesus," the bishop said, "Tommy knew the strength of faith that made him an exemplary Marine, a leader and a man of true courage."
Sullivan will be laid to rest in the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.
Thousands of people paid their respects at a public wake Sunday afternoon.
Sullivan is survived by his parents, Jeremiah and Mary Sullivan of Hampden; a brother, Joseph; a sister Dianne Sullivan Carron; a grandmother, brother-in-law and nieces and nephews.