Chattanooga Shooting: Fifth Victim--26-Year-Old Navy Officer--Dies

Kimberly RipleyLife

Share this Post

The Chattanooga shooting death toll has now reached five. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty at the Chattanooga center, has died. Four Marines died at the scene on Thursday. The Navy announced Smith's passing on Saturday.

Randall Smith grew up in the northwest Ohio city of Paulding. He joined the military after attending college in Ohio, according to his grandmother Linda Wallace. Randall Smith was married and the father of three young daughters.

As news broke Saturday about the fifth victim in the Chattanooga shooting, investigators continue to check out the background of the shooter, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, and so far everything they are learning is rather unremarkable. He has been described as a clean-cut wrestler, the brother of a tennis player, the son of parents who drove no-frills cars. He's been called man who played with the neighborhood kids growing up, and even once gave a lift to a neighbor who became stranded in a snowstorm. In other words, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez sounds like the average American.

Just a couple of days prior to the Chattanooga shooting, Abdulazeez was spotted playing with a soccer ball in his family's yard. He told friends he was excited about a new job.

"Everything seemed fine. He was normal. He was telling me work was going great," said one of the friends, Ahmed Saleen Islam, 26, who knew Abdulazeez through the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga. Islam saw Abdulazeez at the local mosque just a few nights before the Chattanooga shooting.

"We are so shocked and angry," Islam added. "We wish he would have come to us."

Purple ribbons, flowers, and American flags now grace the two sights where the Chattanooga shootings took place. The investigation into Muhammad Youssef Adbulazeez will continue, but at this stage in the game people are left with a hollow feeling, and just one specific question.


Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.