Marine from western Massachusetts killed in Tennessee shooting

Thomas Sullivan, of Springfield, Massachusetts, has been confirmed as one of the four Marines killed in Thursday’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Credit: John Sullivan)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – One of the Marines killed in Thursday’s deadly shooting in Tennessee is a Springfield native, who later moved to Hampden.

Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan was one of the four Marines killed in a suspected home-grown terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 40 year-old, who served two tours in Iraq and received two Purple Hearts, grew up in the city of Springfield. The city’s mayor, Domenic Sarno said Friday that Sullivan’s death is a loss for Springfield, and the entire nation.

“This hits home,” the mayor said during a morning news conference at his City Hall office.

Police in Tennessee say 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez first drove by a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, and fired dozens of bullets from a car. Then, he drove to a Navy-Marine training center. That is where Sullivan and three other Marines were killed, and a sailor was seriously wounded. Two other people were also wounded. Abdulazeez was killed in a shootout with police. The FBI is now investigating what led to this attack.

GySgt Sullivan’s brother, Joe Sullivan, is a co-owner of Nathan Bill’s Bar & Restaurant on Island Pond Road in Springfield. The other co-owner of the restaurant, John Sullivan (no relation) told 22News that Sgt. Sullivan had just come home this past weekend. He said that he is very upset by what happened, and declined to be interviewed on camera. He said that Sgt. Sullivan was a graduate of Cathedral High School and the former Holy Cross school in Springfield.

Springfield Catholic Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said Friday that Sullivan was fondly remembered as a good student and alumnus of Cathedral, who served his country with pride.

“As a decorated member of our nation’s armed forces, he represented all that is good about our country, upholding our values and a willingness to put the needs of others ahead of self. Through his tours of duty, he sought to bring stability to corners of the globe too often visited by senseless violence,” Rozanski said in a statement sent to 22News.

The bishop is asking Catholics across the Diocese to remember Sullivan in their prayers, and prayers for the consolation of his family will be offered at Masses this weekend.

Condolences also came from U.S. Senator Edward Markey, who said Sullivan’s death is a loss for Massachusetts, and the entire country.

I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of Sergeant Thomas Sullivan who was killed during a senseless act of violence and hatred. A son of Springfield and Purple Heart recipient, Sergeant Sullivan served our nation with honor and fought to keep us safe. This is a terrible and heartbreaking loss for our Commonwealth and our nation. My thoughts and prayers are with the Sullivan family and all of the other families affected by this monstrous attack,” -Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts).

In honor of those who were killed in the Chattanooga shooting, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has ordered U.S. and Massachusetts flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and military installations across the Commonwealth. Baker released the following statement:

“The senseless violence that occurred in Tennessee is a terrible tragedy made worse by the fact that the brave individuals whose lives were taken answered the call to serve and protect our nation. Today, our prayers are with the wounded as we wish them a full recovery and our hearts are with the loved ones left behind by the heart breaking loss of four American patriots,” Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts).

The three other Marines killed in Thursday’s attack were Staff Sergeant David A. Wyatt of Burke, North Carolina, Sergeant Carson A. Holmquist of Polk, Wisconsin, and Lance Corporal Squire K. Wells of Cobb, Georgia.

The remains of Sullivan, Wyatt, Holmquist, and Wells are being taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where a Marine Corps spokesperson says their caskets will be draped in U.S. flags, and an “honorable transfer” will take place.

Information on funeral arrangements for Sullivan was not immediately available.

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