— SalenaZito (@SalenaZitoTrib) July 18, 2015
I’m extremely sad to say that there are now five casualties from the horrific Chattanooga Shooting because Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith died two days after the deadly rampage. He was shot three times while working as a logistics specialist at the Navy Operational Support Center. On Saturday at 2:17 a.m., Smith succumbed to injuries from being shot in the back, stomach and arm, which caused extensive damage to his liver and colon. Randall, originally from Paulding, Ohio, died at only 24-years-old. Smith leaves behind his wife, Angie, who he called “the most beautiful woman in the world” on her birthday. He also leaves behind three daughters all under the age of seven. Smith was a big sports fan, loved the Houston Astros and was a strong proponent of the U.S. women’s soccer team. He was a good baseball player and got an athletic scholarship to Defiance College, but he injured his shoulder and was forced out of the game he loved. Soon after he joined the Navy.
But Randall was just one of the five people who were killed on that fateful day by the reprehensible shooter. We all know the murderer’s name by now so there is no reason to publicize any further. Now is a time to tell the stories of the innocent souls that lost their lives.
There is Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, who served two tours in Iraq and received two Purple Hearts. The 40-year-old from Springfield, Massachusetts Sullivan survived the battle of Abu Ghraib.
“He was just everything that a Marine should be,” said Lance Corporal Michael David Bizzoco, who served with Sullivan in Iraq.
“There’s no Marine you would want that was better in combat than him,” his friend, Josh Parnell, told Patch. “He’d been shot at so many times over the years and then for this to happen at home in the United States.”
A heartbreaking tribute was posted on Facebook by Nathan Bill’s Bar and Restaurant, which Sullivan’s brother owns.
David Wyatt was identified as the third victim. Wyatt was originally from Russellville, Arkansas, and was married with two children. David served two tours, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. Wyatt’s sister said Wyatt graduated from Russellville High School in 1998 where he played football and was in the band, and he even played at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Wyatt was an Eagle Scout who attended Arkansas Tech and University of Montana.
“He was a mentor and a leader to a lot of guys,” said former joint terminal attack controller Matt Bein of Wyatt. “It’s going to bring back a lot of memories for guys, especially knowing that stuff like this is now on our own soil. Good Lord.”
“I know a few guys who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and he’d always be like, ‘Hey man, let’s talk about it,’” said another Marine veteran, Joseph Tyrrell. “He really took a more direct approach to helping Marines than some others.”
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 18, 2015
Marine Sergeant Carson Holmquist was only 25-years-old and was full of life before he was cowardly taken from this world. He grew up in Grantsburg, Wisconsin and graduated high school in 2008 where he played football all four years, starting the last two at defensive back. He was avid sportsman who enjoyed fishing and hunting.
Carson was married to his wife Jasmine and they had a 2-year-old son named Wyatt. He joined the Marine Corps in 2009 where he served in Afghanistan twice, and had just returned to U.S. soil in May. Holmquist earned several medals and honors, including the Navy Marine Corps Achievement, two Sea Service Deployment ribbons, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and a Global War of Terrorism Service Medal.
Photo of Sgt Carson Holmquist’s wife & son welcoming him home from duty w/ a sign: We've waited 244 days for this. pic.twitter.com/Xwl3byDPXz
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 18, 2015
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2015
“He was just a protector,” said close friend Lindsey Pittman. “He looked at everyone with love. And he would go anywhere to protect anybody.”
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Skip Wells from Marietta, Georgia has been identified as the second victim slain in Thursday’s Chattanooga shooting. Wells was a member of the orchestra at his church, First Baptist Church in Woodstock, where he was almost “revered,” said family spokesman Andy Kingery.
Wells left college to join the military because he wanted to be a drill sergeant and take his place in a proud military family tradition. His grandfather served in the Air Force, and both his grandmother and mother served in the Navy. However before Wells left Georgia Southern University he met his girlfriend, Caroline Dove. The two were dating for the last two and a half years, but the couple were separated because Caroline lived in Savannah.
On Thursday, the lovers texted each other because they were excited that Caroline had booked a flight to visit him in Chattanooga after not seeing each other since Valentine’s Day. That’s when the savage killer engaged in the frenzied attack at the Navy Network Operations Support Center in Tennessee.
“ACTIVE SHOOTER,” Wells frantically texted his girlfriend in all-caps. Dove first thought it was a sick joke and replied, “You are so weird.” That was the last time she would ever hear from her boyfriend.
“I love you,” she wrote.
Hours later she sent a distressed message of, “Hon, I need you to answer me please.”
Caroline didn’t learn of Skip’s fate until a day later.
PHOTO: Final text sent by Marine before he was slain in Tenn. shooting (provided by his girlfriend): http://t.co/Bf2FB7m45c
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 17, 2015
— Mentality Mag (@MentalityMag) July 18, 2015