The family of Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, one of four U.S. Marines killed in the shooting in Chattanooga Thursday, lived in Charlotte until recently.
Speaking first with Fox 46 News Charlotte, the father of David Wyatt said his son intended to be a lifelong Marine. Allen Wyatt said he last spoke to his son Monday and discussed David's ambition to hike the Appalachian Trial.
David Wyatt was born in Morganton, North Carolina, before the family moved to Arkansas. Allen and his wife would eventually move back to Charlotte, before relocating to Florida in January. David was an Eagle Scout and went on to to study at the University of Arkansas.
"He was a loyal Arkansas Razorbacks fan," Allen said Friday afternoon from Chattanooga in a phone interview with Fox 46 News. The family is now gathering at the home of David's sister.
David served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. His father said David, his brother and brother-in-law joined the US Marines together.
"I think it was probably 9/11," Allen said when explaining his son's motivation to serve his country.
David leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 7 and 10. He recently made a Pinewood Derby car with one of his sons, now a boy scout, and served as a youth soccer coach.
Wyatt was one of four allegedly shot and killed Thursday by 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.The Marines were identified Friday by the Marines as Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan of Hampden, Massachusetts; Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt (Fox 46 News is currently working to confirm his most recent place of residence); Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist of Polk, Wisconsin; and Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells of Cobb County, Georgia, who a family spokesman says went by "Skip."
The police chief in Chattanooga says officers in the city dragged a wounded colleague to safety during a gunfight. Chief Fred Fletcher called the officers heroes for their actions and said Thursday during a news conference that their actions prevented an additional loss of life.
The U.S. Attorney in eastern Tennessee says the attacks on two military facilities in Tennessee is being treated as a terrorism investigation.
Bill Killian, the U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee, said Thursday that the probe is being led by the FBI. Killian says investigators will "let the facts and the evidence lead us where it may."
The FBI says Abdulazeez had at least two long guns and one handgun, and some of the purchases were legal and some were not. FBI agent Ed Reinhold did not go into specifics about the weapons at a news conference Friday. He said investigators were also looking at all of his overseas travel.
More than 1,000 people attended an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Tennessee shootings.
Held at Olivet Baptist Church on Friday evening, the program began with the crowd giving a standing ovation as a speaker repeatedly said, "We are Chattanooga strong!"
Members of the city's Islamic community sat in pews among the crowd as Christian pastors prayed for healing and peace and a rabbi read scripture. Gov. Bill Haslam quoted the Old Testament and said he prays that Chattanooga "would be a city that answers hate with love."
The Chattanooga Police Department said Friday night the officer who was wounded in the shooting is recovering. On its Twitter account Friday evening, the department tweeted a statement from the officer's family saying that Dennis Pedigo "is doing well, he is in good spirits."
The family also offered its prayers for the families of the Marines who were killed.
This is a developing story. Stay with fox46charlotte.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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