The U.S. Navy says that a U.S. sailor has died from gunshot wounds sustained in an attack on two military recruitment centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, two days ago.
“A male Navy Petty Officer succumbed to wounds received in the July 16 shooting at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Chattanooga, Tennessee” on Saturday at 02:17 local time (06:17 GMT), the US Navy said in a statement.
It did not name the sailor, but family members confirmed it was Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga.
Smith, an Ohio native, underwent several surgeries following the shooting but died around 2 a.m. Saturday. A relative told the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes that Smith was married with three young daughters.
According to WCMH-TV, Smith was a baseball player and went to Defiance College on a baseball scholarship. After he was injured and could no longer play, he joined the Navy.
“It’s terrible. You think ‘oh that’s not going to happen to your family,’ but by gum it can. It can happen anywhere,” Darlene Proxmire, his step-grandmother, said.
“I immediately turned it on CNN and, wow, it was awful,” Proxmire said.
His duty in Tennessee kept him safe until yesterday.
“Because he was never shipped over there where, you know, the fighting and all that was at,” Proxmire said. “He loved the Navy. He loved it in there.”
The death occurred two days after a deadly shooting killed four Marines and injured three others, including the sailor, in Chattanooga.
Authorities say Kuwait-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, unleashed a barrage of fire at a recruiting center in Chattanooga, then drove several miles away to a Navy and Marine reserve center, where he shot and killed the Marines and wounded the sailor before the gunman was shot to death by police.