A Navy petty officer who was wounded in Thursday’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee died early Saturday, becoming the fifth service member to be killed in the attack. The Navy did not officially release the name of the officer but a relative had previously idenitifed him as Randall Smith, reports CNN. Smith was shot in the liver, colon, and stomach when Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire at two military facilities. There are two other wounded survivors of the attack, a Marine recruiter and a police officer.
As officials continue to try to figure out what may have motivated the 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born naturalized U.S. citizen to go on a shooting rampage “they also began to confront the uncomfortable question of whether counterterrorism agencies are reaching the practical limits of what they can do to detect homegrown plots,” notes the Washington Post. Officials are investigating possible connections to terrorism but conclusions are likely a long way away.
For now, there seems to be a big gap between the image of the shooter that investigators are putting together and the mundane, run-of-the-mill suburban life that neighbors and classmates say he led. “Everything seemed fine. He was normal. He was telling me work was going great,” one of his friends told the Associated Press. Days before the shooting, Abdulazeez even told friends he was excited about a new job.
Investigators are now poring over his travel records and online activity to try to figure out whether Abdulazeez was acting as part of a larger organization. Abdulazeez traveled to Jordan four times before the shooting, the last time in a trip that apparently lasted from April to November of last year. Although Jordan has become a popular spot for fighters who want to enter Syria, it is also a place where Abudlazeez had family, including a grandmother. Investigators aren’t ruling out a trip to Yemen though, which “would raise special concern” since the country is seen as a fertile training ground for Islamic militants, reports Reuters.
So far though there’s no evidence that he was part of a larger organization. “At this time, we have no indication he was inspired by or directed by anyone other than himself,” Edward Reinhold, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Knoxville, Tenn., told reporters.