As the FBI sets to work investigating whether the 24-year-old Muslim who shot and killed four Marines in Tennessee on Thursday had any contact with terrorist groups during a seven-month trip to Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries last year, his handiwork has claimed a fifth victim.
Fox News reports that this latest casualty was a sailor, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga. An Ohio native, Smith underwent several surgeries following the shooting but succumbed to his injuries around 2 a.m. Saturday. He leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.
As for the investigation into the man responsible for Smith’s and four other deaths, an agent said, “It would be premature to speculate on exactly why the shooter did what he did. However, we are conducting a thorough investigation to determine whether this person acted alone or was inspired or directed.”
The shooter, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, was born in Kuwait but moved to Tennessee as a child, where he was raised in a devout Muslim family. He graduated with a degree in engineering at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and briefly worked at a nearby nuclear facility.
Although very little about him is known at this point, it seems as though Abdulazeez became more radicalized after he returned from the Middle East last year. He grew a beard, frequently attended Muslim religious services, and posted ominous comments on his blog, including one claiming Muslims should never miss “the opportunity to submit to Allah.”
On Thursday, he showed up heavily armed at a Navy-Marine training center and used an AK-47 to kill four American soldiers and injure three others. He was killed after a firefight with police.
This tragic episode serves as a reminder of how easy it is for enemies of the United States to go undetected even in our own country, and how much damage a single terrorist can cause. Thanks to the rise of “homegrown terrorism,” all somebody like Abdulazeez has to do is bring a gun to a public place and start shooting.
Hopefully, this attack will serve as a reminder of the dangers our country faces and remind people to remain vigilant at all times.