Four Marines and a sailor were killed during attacks on military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Authorities say Kuwait-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, of Hixson, Tennessee, 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, who later died. Abdulazeez was shot to death by police.
Lance Cp. Squire Wells, known as Skip, texted back and forth with his girlfriend moments before the shooting.
His last message to her:
“ACTIVE SHOOTER,” he wrote.
She thought he was kidding: "You are so weird," she replied.
But that would be the last Caroline Dove would hear from him. She found out hours later he died as part of the attack, according to WSB-TV.
The two met at Georgia Southern University, but he soon followed in his family footsteps and enlisted. His grandfather had been in the Air Force, and his grandmother and mother served in the Navy, Dove said. Dove, too, plans to enlist in the Marines, a process she began in November. She said she is not dissuaded by what happened.
Dove remembered her boyfriend's love of flag football and Nerf guns, his passion for U.S. history, his ability to handle her when she was grouchy and how good he was at listening.
He dreamed of being a drill sergeant, and when they last saw each other around Valentine's Day, he gave her a gold-and-silver ring. When the time came to propose, she said, Wells, 21, knew to ask her parents first.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40, served 18 years including two tours of duty in Iraq, earning two Purple Hearts.
He grew up in Springfield, Mass, where Gov. Charlie Baker ordered flags to half-staff, according to myfoxboston.com.
Sullivan's brother, Joe Sullivan, proudly hung a huge American flag on the front of his Springfield bar and restaurant, Nathan Bill's.
Sullivan was always engaged and quick to argue his point in class, said Lynn Leone, Sullivan's history and government teacher at Cathedral High School in Springfield.
"He really loved the country. He loved to serve," she said.
Sgt. Carson Holmquist, from Grantsburg, Wi., liked to hunt and fish. He enlisted in 2009 and served as an automotive maintenance technician and completed two deployments as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Associated Press.
So proud a Marine was Holmquist, that when he finished boot camp, he returned to his hometown and paid a visit to his high school dressed in his formal blues, according to WSB-TV.
Grantsburg High School Principal Josh Watt, who was one of Holmquist's football coaches, remembers the day his former cornerback showed up, the pride in his accomplishment apparent.
"When he became a Marine he was very proud of that," Watt said Friday.
Staff Sgt. David Wyatt was an avid Boy Scout, who attained Eagle Scout rank in 1998.
He enlisted in 2004 and was deployed three times, according to WSB-TV. Wyatt served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and came back wanting to be a career Marine.
Wyatt was born in Morganton, attended Piedmont Community College and joined the U.S. Marines because of 9/11.
Family members remember Wyatt as a loving father of two who also loved his country, according to WSOC-TV.
“This was expected to be the safest place in America,” said Allen Wyatt, David’s father. “My son and the other three men who died are all cornerstones of America and a deep loss for us all. I'm sorry.”
Wyatt said his son lost a lot of people in his unit in Afghanistan and Iraq, but his son was never injured. He said his son took pride on taking care of the people under him.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.