Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Squire K Wells

Marietta, Georgia

July 16, 2015

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
21 Marine L/Cpl

 

 - Killed by a terrorist in the USA.

From The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette lancastereaglegazette.com 07/19/15:

Marine killed in Tenn. is son of Buckeye Lake man
Staff report 6:26 a.m. EDT July 19, 2015

COLUMBUS – One of the Marines killed Thursday in an attack on a military facility in Tennessee is the son of a Buckeye Lake resident.

Marines delivered the news about the death of Lance Cpl. Squire K. "Skip" Wells, 21, to his father and stepmother Thursday night at their Buckeye Lake home.

Wells's father, Kip, will speak with local media Sunday afternoon. No funeral arrangements have been made.

State Sen. Jay Hottinger said he saw a Facebook post from Wells' father shortly after he received the news of Wells' death.

"Certainly, when it's a family that you know and you interact with and one of your own, it hits you extra hard," he said.

"Skip died doing what he chose to do," said Andy Kingery, a family spokesman in Georgia, where Wells grew up. "He was fully aware of the dangers when you put on a uniform."

His last communication to girlfriend Caroline Dove, according to media reports, was a text with the words "ACTIVE SHOOTER."

A second victim with Ohio connections has died, bringing the number of victims to five.

The death of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, a reservist serving on active duty at a Chattanooga reserve center, was announced Saturday by the Navy.

In a tweet Saturday morning, Gov. John Kasich called for prayers for Smith, who grew up in the northwestern Ohio village of Paulding, and his family.
.From The New York Daily News nydailynews.com 07/17/15:

'ACTIVE SHOOTER': Marine Skip Wells, one of four Marines killed in Chattanooga rampage, sent frantic final text to girlfriend
BY RONI ROBBINS , MEG WAGNER , JASON MOLINET NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Friday, July 17, 2015, 10:02 AM


Marines Skip Wells has been identified as the second victim in Thursday's Chattangooga shooting.

In the frenzied moments before he was killed in a Tennessee shooting rampage Thursday, Marine Lance Cpl. Skip Wells sent an alarming text to his girlfriend.

“ACTIVE SHOOTER,” Wells wrote to Caroline Dove.

The message was as clear as the all caps type.

But Dove, who knew Wells was working at the Navy Network Operations Support Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., laughed off the message as some sick joke.

“You are so weird,” she replied from her home in Savannah, Ga. The couple hadn’t seen each other since Valentine’s Day.

It was the last time she would hear from the 21-year-old Wells, who along with three other Marines, was shot and killed by Kuwaiti-born gunman Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez in a shooting spree that stretched seven miles and left three others wounded.

Thomas Sullivan, David Wyatt and Carson Holmquist were also identified as victims Friday.

PROFILES OF FOUR MARINES KILLED IN CHATTANOOGA

Dove reached out again hours later, when she realized the gravity of what actually happened.

“I love you,” she wrote.

“Hon, I need you to answer me please.”

There was no response. Dove, who started dating Wells after they met at Georgia Southern University more than two years ago, only found out Friday that he was one of four victims.

Wells left college to join the military. He wanted to be a drill sergeant and take his place in a proud family tradition.

The young Marine from Marietta, Ga., came from a military family. He was a "happy kid," who "didn't let anything bring him down," said fellow Marine Lance Cpl. Omer Turhan, who trained with Wells in Oklahoma.

“If there was one person smiling, it was him,” Turhan told the Daily News. “When we had to wake up at 3 a.m., he’d still be smiling. No one else would be happy, but he’d still have a huge smile on his face."

He continued: "He served honorably. He was one of the better ones of us."

Longtime family friend Theresa Bass, who was helping the family field inquiries, also praised Wells' attitude.

"He loved what he did. He never met an enemy," Bass said.

MASS SHOOTINGS HAVE BECOME PREDICTABLE AND ROUTINE

Wells, a 2012 high school graduate, enrolled at Georgia Southern but joined the military to be like his mom, his friends said. He was a part of the Active Duty for Operational Support program, a family friend said.

“He loved this country. His mama served in the military,” his childhood friend Garrett Reed told CNN. “He just wanted to follow in her footsteps.”

He “felt called to serve,”a family friend told CBS46.

Flowers were delivered Friday afternoon to the family's home, with students from the Sprayberry High School Junior ROTC program visiting earlier.

Police said Abdulazeez initially shot at the Armed Forces Career Center off Lee Highway from his convertible around 10:45 a.m.

Then, he drove to the Naval Reserve building, where he killed four and wounded three others. A police officer was shot in the ankle during the attack.
From WREG News Channel 3 wreg.com 07/17/15

Marines killed in Chattanooga attack identified
POSTED 5:59 AM, JULY 17, 2015, BY GEORGE BROWN, KELSEY OTT AND CNN WIRE

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The four Marines killed in a domestic terrorism attack Thursday in Chattanooga have been identified.

They are Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt and Sgt. Carson Holmquist.

Family members and friends said Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan was shot and killed in the attack.

He was an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, Gunnery Sgt. Sullivan joined the Marines in 1997.

“He was our hero,” a Facebook post states, “and he will never be forgotten.”

Lance Cpl. Wells was another of those gunned down, according to friends of his family.

A 2012 graduate of Sprayberry High in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Georgia, he was studying history at Georgia Southern University.

He had loved being part of his high school’s ROTC program.

Many members of his family served in the military, said Garrett Reed, a close friend of Lance Cpl. Wells.

“He loved his country,” Reed said.

Staff Sgt. Wyatt, originally from Russellville, Arkansas, was also killed, according to The Tennesseean.

Fox News named Sgt. Holmquist, originally of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, as the fourth victim.

Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire at two military recruitment centers.

Shots were first fired at the Armed Forces Career Center, then the Naval Reserve support center where the Marines were hit.
From Fox 8 Cleveland fox8.com 07/17/15

Marines mourned: Names of those killed in Chattanooga shooting are released
POSTED 10:10 AM, JULY 17, 2015, BY CNNWIRE, UPDATED AT 04:44PM, JULY 17, 2015

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — They joined the Marines to serve their country, willing to go to dangerous lands out of a sense of duty, idealism and patriotism.

Ultimately, they died in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Authorities are still trying to piece together why Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez killed four Marines at a Navy operational center in the southeastern Tennessee city, which is thousands of miles from any war zone but unfortunately not bloodshed.

The Marines killed were Carson Holmquist, David Wyatt, Skip Wells and Thomas J. Sullivan, according to multiple sources.

Terrorism is being investigated as one possibility, especially considering that a military recruiting center was also shot at, though it was not immediately known if Abdulazeez had any connection to any known terrorist group.

Nor is it known if he had any link to the four people killed or the others wounded — one a male sailor in “pretty serious condition” after surgery, according to a Pentagon official, and the other identified by a law enforcement source as responding Chattanooga police Officer Dennis Pedigo, who was shot in the ankle.

Whatever the motive, it’s clear that four families are hurting badly, as is the community at large.

“Each of these men who lost their lives had served incredibly well,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told CNN on Friday morning. “We’re heartbroken.”

Thomas Sullivan: ‘He was our hero’

Massachusetts officials say one of the victims is Thomas Sullivan, a Springfield native who was a Marine Corps. gunnery sergeant. Gov. Charlie Baker posted a picture of Sullivan on Facebook and the words “terror comes home to Massachusetts,” and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno lamented an “assassination” and “tragic loss.”

“Sgt. Sullivan dedicated his life in brave service to his country,” Sarno said, “and to see it end under such tragic circumstances is heartbreaking.”

Flags were lowered to half-staff outside City Hall, and city spokesman James Leydon said Sullivan’s family is “still trying to come to terms with it all.” So, too, are people in the community, like resident Jim Sheremeta, who said the death hit close to home.

“My heart just went down to my toes because I said, ‘My God,’ ” he said.

John Sullivan, co-owner with Thomas’ brother Joe of Nathan Bill’s Bar and Restaurant in Springfield, changed his Facebook profile picture to a split shot of his smiling brother in uniform and a black ribbon over the Marines Corps logo. The ribbon has the words “in remembrance,” and below it appears, “R.I.P. Tommy.”

The Facebook page describes the late Marine as a graduate of Cathedral High School who grew up in Springfield’s East Forest Park neighborhood and went on to become a gunnery sergeant.

“He was our hero,” one post states, “and he will never be forgotten.”

Skip Wells: ‘You couldn’t find a nicer guy’

Skip Wells was another of those gunned down, according friends of his family.

A 2012 graduate of Sprayberry High in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Georgia, where he was in the band, Wells went on to study history at Georgia Southern University. The school said Wells was enrolled there from 2012 through fall 2013.

Just last month, his mother, Cathy, posted touching words about the love between her and her son, to which Skip replied that he would readily carry his mother to safety “on my back … with a weapon.” Pictures posted recently to Facebook also showed mother and son on a trip to Disney World.

When asked Friday about her son’s death, Cathy Wells said, “My son died doing what he loved for the love of his country and his family.”

Many who knew him and his mother posted tributes to him on social media, like one man who said that his “heart is breaking.”

Many members of Wells’ family, including his mother, served in the military, Garrett Reed said. Wells loved being part of his high school’s ROTC, or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, program.

“He loved his country,” said Reed, a close friend since fourth grade who considered Wells’ mother his own “second mother.”

And Wells, himself, was loved by those who knew him.

“He was a real genuine guy, he had a real caring spirit, (and was a) funny dude,” Reed said. “Just a real, real nice guy. You couldn’t find a nicer guy than him.”

CNN’s Tina Burnside, AnneClaire Stapleton, Mi Seon Lee, Bob Crowley and David Shortell contributed to this report.
From CNN cnn.com 07/18/15:

Fifth service member dies after Chattanooga shooting
By Ed Payne and Victor Blackwell, CNN

Chattanooga, Tennessee (CNN)U.S. Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith, wounded in a shooting rampage in Tennessee, died early Saturday, according to a family member. He is the fifth American service member killed in the attack.

Darlene Proxmire, Smith's step-grandmother, said the logistics specialist was shot in the attack at the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga. It was one of two military sites in the city that were targeted by a gunman Thursday.

The U.S. Navy confirmed the death, saying Smith died at 2:17 a.m.

Smith saw the shooter and warned people around him, according to family members. But he was unable to get away. Smith was shot in the liver, colon and stomach, said his grandmother, Linda Wallace.

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire, shooting seven people, including four Marines who died that day.

The two surviving wounded are a Marine recruiter who was shot in the leg and a responding Chattanooga police officer, Dennis Pedigo, who was shot in the ankle.

A community in mourning
On Friday, hundreds in Chattanooga packed Olivet Baptist Church for a prayer vigil. There were Christians. There were Muslims. A cross-section of the Tennessee community

"I thought it was beautiful ... the community coming together," Iman Ali told CNN affiliate WTVC. "It was truly something beautiful and I wanted to be there to honor the lives of those Marines."

Korean War veteran Arch Burton talked of the collective hurt the nation was experiencing.

"We fought to preserve this great country which is America and when one is down, all are down," he said.

There was talk of healing and moving forward.

"Tonight, love and forgiveness and belief in one another was the theme, because that's what 'Chattanooga Strong' means," Mayor Andy Berke told affiliate WDEF.

The military earlier released the names of the four Marines killed Thursday -- Thomas Sullivan, a native of Hampden, Massachusetts; Squire "Skip" Wells, a native of Marietta, Georgia; David Wyatt, a native of Burke, North Carolina; and Carson Holmquist of Grantsburg, Wisconsin.

All were combat veterans, according to a senior Defense official.

When the shooting broke out, they went into combat mode, had everybody drop to the floor, and then "cleared the room" by having everyone go out the back, the official said. All seven people in the center survived, and reports indicate those Marines helped save lives.

Timeline: U.S. military recruiting center attacks, from New York to Chattanooga

The investigation
Authorities have seized four guns connected with Abdulazeez, a law enforcement official said.

Abdulazeez had a handgun and two long guns in his possession when police killed him at a Navy Operational Support Center, and another rifle was seized when police searched his home, the official said.

Abdulazeez obtained at least one of his firearms from a seller via the Internet, law enforcement sources told CNN, and at least two other firearms were bought from licensed firearms dealers.

The handgun was registered in his name, the source said. Officials believe the shotgun and AK-47-style gun were legally obtained, the source said.

The 24-year-old engineering graduate wore a "load-bearing vest" that allowed him to carry extra ammunition, said Ed Reinhold, special agent in charge of the regional FBI office.

The rampage
Thursday's shooting spree began at a strip mall when Abdulazeez opened fire on a military recruiting center.

Over the next half hour, the gunman, a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, drove his rental car to the Navy operational support center seven miles away, a law enforcement official said.

Police Chief Fred Fletcher told CNN that police followed and engaged Abdulazeez somewhere on the road after that, then again at the second site. He said authorities are still trying to determine whether police saw him ram the gates of the center, get into the facility and shoot and kill the four Marines.

Abdulazeez kept police at bay for some time before himself being killed.

"All indications are he was killed by fire from the Chattanooga police officers," Reinhold told reporters. "We have no evidence he was killed by self-inflicted wounds."

Looking for a motive
Authorities are trying to figure out why Abdulazeez -- an accomplished student, well-liked peer, mixed martial arts fighter and devout Muslim -- went on the killing spree.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said the shootings are being investigated as an "act of domestic terrorism," but he noted the incident has not yet been classified as terrorism.

Reinhold said there is nothing to connect the attacker to ISIS or other international terror groups. Abdulazeez was not on any U.S. databases of suspected terrorists.

In response to the shootings, some governors have taken steps to increase security of National Guard recruiters and military facilities in their states. States control their National Guard units, so governors can make decisions about Guard actions, whereas the president is commander in chief of the nation's military branches.

Under Florida Gov. Rick Scott's order, National Guard members at six state recruitment centers will be relocated to armories until security is improved. In addition, law enforcement agencies will be asked to conduct regular security checks and qualified Guard members will be adequately armed, according to a statement from the governor's office.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure all of our Guardsmen are safe," Scott told CNN. "We've got to understand that we have people in our country that want to harm our military."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's order will arm National Guard personnel at military facilities throughout the state.

"Arming the National Guard at these bases will not only serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to do harm to our service men and women, but will enable them to protect those living and working on the base," Abbott said in a statement.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin authorized the arming of certain full-time personnel in military installations throughout the state. "It is painful enough when we lose members of our armed forces when they are sent in harm's way, but it is unfathomable that they should be vulnerable for attack in our own communities," she said in a statement.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence issued an order to enhance security measures at all National Guard facilities across the state, including recruiting storefronts.

Bergen: History of attacks against U.S. military installations

'Something happened over there'

While Abdulazeez was a devout Muslim, he didn't appear to be radical, according to some who knew him. He was born in Kuwait but became a naturalized American citizen.

Jordanian sources said Abdulazeez had been in Jordan as recently as 2014 visiting an uncle. He had also visited Kuwait and Jordan in 2010, Kuwait's Interior Ministry said.

A longtime friend said Abdulazeez changed after spending time in the Middle East and "distanced himself" for the first few months after returning to Tennessee.

"Something happened over there," Abdulrazzak Brizada told CNN, saying, "he never became close to me like he was before he went overseas ... I'm sure he had something that happened to him overseas."

Shooter recalled as good student, 'great kid'

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