Navy to award Purple Hearts to Chattanooga shooting victims

NASHVILLE -- After determining a shooting at a Chattanooga reserve centre this summer was inspired by foreign terrorists, the Navy will award the Purple Heart to the four Marines and one sailor who were killed and the one Marine who was injured there.

See Full Article

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the decision Wednesday in a news release that said the terrorist determination came after an extensive investigation by the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

"This determination allows the Department of the Navy to move forward immediately with the award of the Purple Heart to the families of the five heroes who were victims of this terrorist attack, as well as to the surviving hero, Sgt. Cheeley," Mabus' statement reads.

The FBI earlier labeled shooter Muhammad Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen, a homegrown violent extremist but declined to say what might have motivated him. His family said he had problems with drugs and depression that prevented him from holding on to a job. He was also in debt, and considering bankruptcy at 24.

But investigators also found writings from Abdulazeez that reference Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who encouraged and inspired attacks on the homeland and was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

Earlier Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told reporters the July 16 attack was "inspired and motivated by foreign terrorist propaganda."

That statement came after some had questioned why the Dec. 2 attack that killed 14 in San Bernardino, California, was quickly labeled terrorism but months passed without a determination in the Chattanooga attack.

Abdulazeez first fired shots from his car into a military recruiting centre in a Chattanooga strip mall before driving about 7 miles to a Navy-Marine reserve centre where he killed four Marines and a sailor and wounded a fifth Marine before Chattanooga police killed him.

Those killed were Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, and Marines Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan and Lance Cpt. Squire "Skip" Wells. Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was injured.

Smith's grandmother, Linda Wallace, said in a telephone interview that she was frustrated it took months to determine the shooting was inspired by foreign terrorists. But she was pleased to hear of the award.

"He definitely deserved it," she said. "He gave his life for those other guys."


Latest Canada & World News

  • Ontario man back home in Toronto rehab centre after being stuck in U.S. hospital

    Canada News CBC News
    An elderly Toronto man who was stuck in a Florida hospital because his insurance company said there were no beds available back home is in a rehab hospital in the city's east end. "That's all I wanted," Todd Hrabchak's wife, Lillian, told CBC Toronto. Source
  • Canadian teen tells UN to 'warrior up,' that water should have the same rights as humans

    Canada News CBC News
    It's time to "warrior up," stop polluting the planet and give water the same rights and protections as human beings. That's the message Autumn Peltier, a 13-year-old Canadian, delivered personally to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. Source
  • Peru's ambassador to Canada is set to become Peru's next president

    Canada News CBC News
    Peru's ambassador to Canada is in line for a promotion — to the presidency. Martín Vizcarra is headed back to Peru today after President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski offered his resignation Wednesday, ahead of an impeachment vote. Source
  • 911 calls show quick reaction to Florida bridge collapse

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene of a pedestrian bridge collapse near a Florida university campus even before witnesses could finish making 911 calls for help, according to audio files released Thursday. Source
  • Florida man reunites with pet cat lost 14 years ago

    World News CTV News
    FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- A Florida man has been reunited with a cat he lost 14 years ago. reports Perry Martin of Fort Pierce said he had assumed his orange tabby named Thomas Jr. Source
  • Several Nigerian schoolgirls did not survive Boko Haram captivity

    World News CBC News
    Just one Nigerian schoolgirl is still held by Boko Haram after the extremists released 104 classmates seized in a mass abduction and she "will not be abandoned," President Muhammadu Buhari said Thursday, with no word on five girls still unaccounted for, but who are said to be dead and buried. Source
  • Trump's lead lawyer in Russia investigation quits

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump's lead lawyer in the special counsel's Russia investigation has resigned amid a shakeup of the president's team, an exit that removes the primary negotiator and legal strategist who had been moulding Trump's defence. Source
  • Investigation into 2015 MMIWG case leads to arrest in Krystal Andrews killing

    Canada News CBC News
    Manitoba RCMP have made an arrest in connection with the killing of Krystal Andrews, a young mother found dead in God's Lake First Nation in 2015, CBC has confirmed. More details about the identity of the person arrested are expected Thursday at 1 p.m. Source
  • Gods Lake Narrows man charged with 2nd-degree murder of Krystal Andrews

    Canada News CBC News
    Manitoba RCMP have made an arrest in connection with the killing of Krystal Andrews, a young mother found dead in God's Lake First Nation in 2015, CBC has confirmed. More details about the identity of the person arrested are expected Thursday at 1 p.m. Source
  • Camaro caught speeding at 192 km/h in N.S. school zone

    Canada News CTV News
    RCMP in Nova Scotia had to wait for a white Camaro to stop for gas before they were able to catch up with the driver, who is accused of travelling at 192 km/h in a school zone and ignoring officers’ requests to pull over. Source