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Russellville Native Killed In Chattanooga Shooting To Be Awarded Purple Heart

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Courtesy: River Valley Leader

RUSSELLVILLE (KFSM) — A Russellville native who was one of the five men killed in the July Chattanooga shooting will be awarded the Purple Heart.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced in a release on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 16) that the Department of the Navy would award Staff Sgt. David Wyatt with the medal, as well as Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire D. ‘Skip’ Wells, Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith and Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley.

Cheeley was injured in the attack. The other five were killed.

In the release, Mabus said: “Following an extensive investigation, the FBI and NCIS have determined that this attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group, the final criteria required for the awarding of the Purple Heart to this Sailor and these Marines.

“This determination allows the Department of the Navy to move forward immediately with the award of the Purple Heart to the families of the five heroes who were victims of this terrorist attack, as well as to the surviving hero, Sgt. Cheeley.”

Wyatt’s military career started in 2004. He was deployed in 2007 and again in 2008 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wyatt was deployed again for parts of 2010 and 2011 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Wyatt was buried with full honors at the Chattanooga National Cemetery on July 24.

“Their heroism and service to our nation will be remembered always,” Mabus said of the fallen Marines and sailor.

Law enforcement sources said shooting suspect was identified as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. According to a U.S. law enforcement source, Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait and came to the United States in 1996.