Jul 19, 2015 12:11 AM
The Latest: Gunman's family offers condolences in statement
The Associated Press
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) The latest on the Chattanooga shootings at two military facilities (all times local):__
As the families of four Marines and a sailor shot to death in Chattanooga grieved their losses Saturday, the family of the man authorities say pulled the trigger offered sympathy, condolences and prayers.
The statement, provided to the Associated Press by a lawyer representing the family of Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez said, "There are no words to describe our shock, horror, and grief. The person who committed this horrible crime was not the son we knew and loved. For many years, our son suffered from depression. It grieves us beyond belief to know that his pain found its expression in this heinous act of violence."
The family added that they are cooperating with the investigation.
That statement came Saturday hours after the deadly toll from Thursday's attacks rose to five when a sailor died of his wounds.
The mother of one of the Marines slain in Tennessee Thursday visited the memorial garden at the metro Atlanta high school that her son attended.
Cathy Wells visited the memorial dedicated to her 21-year-old son Lance Cpl. Skip Wells at Sprayberry High School on Saturday. Wells graduated from the Cobb County school in 2012.
Andy Kingery, a spokesman for Wells' family said, "Cathy was able to soak in the loving tributes left by so many. We have collected many of the sealed letters and items to keep forever."
A memorial service will be held for Wells, of Marietta, at the school's stadium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
FBI teams are continuing to collect and process evidence collected at the two Chattanooga military sites attacked Thursday as investigators work to reconstruct what happened, according to a news release issued Saturday.
Also on scene at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station and the Navy Operations Support Center, which are located about 7 miles apart, is a team from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office covering eastern Tennessee.
As FBI agents served a warrant on the family home of accused shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez on Thursday, two women wearing Islamic head coverings were seen being led away in handcuffs. It is not unusual for federal agents to temporarily detain individuals found at a location where there is potential evidence in a criminal investigation.
FBI spokesman, Special Agent Jason Pack, said Saturday that no arrests have been made in the case.
The whereabouts of the Abdulazeez family are not immediately. Efforts by the Associated Press to reach them by phone and at their home following the shootings have been unsuccessful.
The FBI is urging anyone with information that might aid the investigation to call (865) 602-7582. Various state and federal law enforcement agencies are following up on more than 200 leads collected through the tip line, according to the release.
The president of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga says the father of the man accused in Thursday's shootings apologized to him.
Bassam Issa also said that the elder Abdulazeez told him he felt blindsided and did not see any recent changes in his son.
Issa could not recall on Saturday exactly when he spoke to Youssuf Saed Abdulazeez. He believed it was a very short call either Thursday evening or Friday morning.
"He told me that he had never seen it coming, and did not see any signs from his son that he would be that way and do something like that."
Issa said he had not spoken to Abdulazeez since that call.
The man accused in the Chattanooga shootings was stopped by a police officer early on the morning of April 20 while driving erratically, according to an arrest report released by authorities on Saturday.
According to the report, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez was stopped for failing to maintain his lane, driving about 10 miles per hour and stopping at green lights. He was "acting very lethargic," had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol and "burnt marijuana," the arresting officer wrote.
The officer also wrote that he noticed "a white powdery substance" under Abdulazeez's nostrils, and that he appeared unsteady attempting to stand.
Abdulazeez told the officer that he had crushed and snorted caffeine pills, and that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana with friends. He was then placed under arrest, shown smirking in his booking photo from the Hamilton County jail.
Family and friends of one of the Marines slain in Tennessee are planning a memorial service at the high school he attended in metro Atlanta.
The public service for 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Skip Wells of Marietta will be held at Tuesday at Sprayberry High School. Wells graduated from the Cobb County school in 2012.
Andy Kingery, a spokesman for Wells' family, said the memorial is being planned for 7 p.m. at the school's stadium, though some details are still being finalized.
Wells was among four Marines and one Navy sailor killed Thursday by a gunman at a military facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Wells was texting with his girlfriend in Georgia that morning about her coming to visit when he sent her a final message: "ACTIVE SHOOTER."
Kingery said funeral arrangements for Wells are still pending.
A wrestling coach who trained Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez at Red Bank High School in suburban Chattanooga recalls him as someone who was mature beyond his years.
Kevin Emily said Abdulazeez, blamed by authorities in the shooting deaths of four Marines and a sailor, seemed to have an inner peace that prevented him from becoming ruffled even after losing a match.
"Whoever that was who did those things two days I don't know," Emily, now a wrestling coach in Iowa, said Saturday in a telephone interview.
Abdulazeez, who graduated high school in 2008, was well-liked and respected by his teammates, but Emily said he didn't recall him dating in high school or having a girlfriend.
Wrestling is an intense sport and participants have to "be able to turn it on and turn it off," Emily said, but Abdulazeez had an unusually calm demeanor.
"I can't recall him getting mad even when he got beat," he said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he has authorized the adjutant general of the Texas National Guard to arm Guardsmen at military facilities across Texas.
Abbott joins governors in Florida and Louisiana in the call to arm Guardsmen after a gunman attacked a recruiting center and a Marine-Navy reserve facility in Chattanooga earlier this week.
"After the recent shooting in Chattanooga, it has become clear that our military personnel must have the ability to defend themselves against these type of attacks on our own soil," Abbott said. "Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our servicemen and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base."
U.S. military officials have said they will review security measures for their recruiters but that it's too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering National Guard recruiters at six storefront locations to be relocated to their nearest armory after the shootings at military facilities in Tennessee.
Scott announced the order Saturday. He wants a review of security at the Guard recruitment centers, possibly installing bullet-proof glass at the storefronts or video surveillance equipment.
U.S. military officials have said security at recruiting and reserve centers will be reviewed, but the Army's top officer said it's too early to say whether the facilities should have security guards or other increased protection.
The U.S. Navy says a sailor who was shot in the attack on a military facility in Chattanooga has died, raising the death toll to five people.
The death occurred two days after a gunman killed four Marines during a shooting rampage on two military facilities.
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 who died. Abdulazeez was shot to death by police.
The Navy statement did not give the sailor's name. He was identified by family as Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga.