US & Canada

Four Marines and sailor killed in shooting attacks remembered by families

A gunman killed four Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in front of military recruitment centres on Thursday. Three of the men had done numerous tours serving the US across the globe while another was just getting started with his career in the military.

On Saturday, a sailor who was seriously injured in the shootings died in hospital. Here is what we know about the five victims.

Gunney Sgt Thomas J Sullivan

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Sgt Sullivan was in the military for 18 years

Sullivan grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, and served two tours in Iraq, earning a Purple Heart.

Mayor of Springfield Dominic Sarno said in a statement that Sullivan's death is "a tragic loss not just for the Springfield community but for our entire nation".

He was enlisted in the military for nearly 18 years.

Tributes poured in for Sullivan, 40, on the Facebook page for Massachusetts eatery Nathan Bill's Bar and Restaurant, of which Sullivan's brother Joe is a part owner.

"He was our hero and he will never be forgotten. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you Tommy for protecting us," one post read.

Lance Cpl Squire K "Skip" Wells

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Image caption Cpl Squire Wells had only enlisted in 2014

Wells grew up in Georgia an graduated high school in 2012. The 21-year-old had been enrolled as a student at Georgia Southern University in 2013, but ultimately dropped out to enter the Marine Corps. He enlisted in 2014 and was a field artillery cannoneer.

The university said in a statement: "The community is saddened by the news that former student and Marine Skip Wells was killed yesterday in the Chattanooga tragedy along with three fellow Marines... The Eagle Nation offers our deepest condolences to his family and the families of those killed and wounded during this incident."

He had recently left home for a three-week commitment in Chattanooga. His family friend Andy Kingery told the AP Wells "died doing what he wanted to do and had chosen to do."

Caroline Dove, his girlfriend, was texting him the day of the shooting. She had just booked a trip to Chattanooga to see him. He texted her "ACTIVE SHOOTER" and it was the last she heard from him.

The two met at Georgia Southern University. He dreamed of being a drill sergeant, Ms Dove said.

Staff Sgt David A Wyatt

Wyatt was a Burke County, North Carolina resident who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as a Marine for more than 11 years.

He enlisted in 2004 and was deployed three times.

He was married with two children. Neighbours packed his home on Thursday to pay their respects, The Tennessean reports.

Family members posted on Facebook that there was "no sleep tonight" following the attacks.

Tony Ward, who was Wyatt's Boy Scouts supervisor when he was in high school in Russellville, Arkansas, said Wyatt enjoyed life, was a "hard charger" and that he cared deeply about his job and his colleagues serving with him.

"He's the kind of man that this country needs more of," Ward said.

Sgt Carson A Holmquist

Carson hailed from Grantsburg, Wisconsin and served in Afghanistan. He was very proud to be a Marine, even visiting his high school after boot camp wearing his "formal blues".

His high school principal Josh Watt described him as a strong football player and someone who loved to hunt and fish.

Holmquist enlisted in the military in January 2009 and had been serving as an automotive maintenance technician, completing two deployments in Afghanistan.

"It's a very tough day in Grantsburg," Watt said.

Reached by phone by the AP, Holmquist's father and grandfather said they were not ready to talk yet.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randal Smith

Image copyright EPA
Image caption A cross with the name of Randall Smith was placed at the entrance to the US Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga

In a brief statement on Saturday, the Navy said a petty officer died from his wounds overnight.

It did not identify the sailor, but he was later named by his family members.

Smith - from Paulding, Ohio - leaves behind a wife and three daughters.

"It's hard to understand how somebody can hurt somebody that's serving for you, for your freedom, for you safety," his step-grandmother Darlene Proxmire told WANE television.

Smith joined the service after attending college in Ohio, his grandmother Linda Wallace told the Associated Press news agency.

He had reportedly recently re-enlisted and was transferred to Chattanooga.

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