From The Archives: The Timeline for the Fallen Five attack

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – This is a story we ran on the 1 year anniversary of the 2015 terror shootings:


July 16, 2015 will go down as perhaps one of the darkest moments in Chattanooga’s history. Dark because of an Islamic extremist home grown terror attack by a man we now know was inspired by ISIS propaganda. His actions were so horrific that we have made an editorial decision not to mention his name. Instead we will refer to him as terrorist, shooter..murderer.

July 16, 2015 began as a normal quiet and ordinary hot summer day in Chattanooga. That is until 10:30 AM.

A lone gunman went on a shooting spree outside a military recruiting center on Lee Highway. 30-40 rounds of ammunition were reportedly fired into this military office from a shooter who was bent on causing harm. Seven people were inside. A U.S. marine was wounded. The heavily armed shooter then led Chattanooga police on a seven-mile car chase to the U.S. Navy Reserve Center on Amniocola Highway…. where he drove through security gates and started firing at everyone in his sight.

As law enforcement from all over the city and county swarmed the military reserve center, people all over the world were learning about what was happening in Chattanooga.

{Breaking News – CNN, CBS, France 24}

“There are reports of an active shooter at the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga Tennessee””We are covering a late breaking story. The United States Government says there has been quote, an act of domestic terrorism in Chattanooga Tennessee””We’re going straight back to to those live pictures coming to us from Chattanooga in Tennessee where that shooting has taken place.”

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher was en-route to Nashville with another officer when he got the call.

“As soon as we heard that community members and police officers had been harmed, we turned around and returned to Chattanooga as quickly as we could. I could probably remember every mile marker on that trip from Nashville to Chattanooga.”

Local businesses near the reserve center were on lockdown and tensions were high as police blocked a large stretch of Amincola Highway.

From our broadcast that day:

“Something’s going on right here. Pan the camera this way. Pan the camera. Pan the camera. Pan the camera. Look at that. we have a situation. We don’t know what is going on but we see one officer has his assault rifle drawn. We’re not sure if a suspect is on the loose.”

Rumors started circulating that the shooter was killed by Chattanooga police after he murdered four servicemen inside the reserve center. Hours after the attack, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke along with law enforcement officials confirmed the bad news.

“We do know that we have four individuals who were killed.”

Those four Marines were identified as Carson Holmquist, Thomas Sullivan, “Skip” Wells, and David Wyatt.”

Somebody brutally and brazenly attacked members of our armed services and officers of the Chattanooga Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office responded immediately. They were able to make sure no further loss of life happened.”

It was obvious Chief Fletcher was angry about what happened.

“I very much was angry.somebody had attacked my community, my military; attacked and hurt my officers, so yes I was very angry.”

And then for the first time, the word terrorism was used to describe the attack.

“We are conducting this as a act of domestic terrorism The FBI is now in charge of this investigation.”

No one could have imagined a terror attack in Chattanooga Tennessee.

Mayor Jim Coppinger: “We’re just sad beyond belief that this could happen here.”

Gov. Bill Haslam “This has obviously been a horrible day for Chattanooga and a tragic day for all of Tennessee.”

Chief Fletcher: “Every police executive expected something like this to happen. Did I expect it to happen in Chattanooga? We prepared for it but nobody thought Chattanooga was a target for a terror attack.”

And it wasn’t long before the events that unfolded earlier in the day got the attention of the White House.

President Obama: “I just received a briefing from FBI Director Comey as well as my White House team about the tragic shooting that took place in Chattanooga.”

And while President Obama took time to talk about the servicemen who were killed, he also talked about Chattanooga Police Officer Dennis Pedigo who was wounded by the shooter.

“There are reports of injuries to Chattanooga local law enforcement officials, thankfully as far as we know at this point, they have survived the.”

Chief Fletcher: “He was hurt pretty traumatically. A rifle round through his leg and in the early days many of us wondered if or when he would come back.”

Two days later, the death toll raised to five after Navy Officer Randall Smith died from his injuries. Over the next couple of days, tensions within the city grew very high as FBI field agents tracked down leads to people who were associated with the killer… a man who had just been arrested in Chattanooga two months prior for DUI.

For several days, many wondered if the murderer was inspired by ISIS.

Reporter:  “Are you guys confirming this was an ISIS inspired shooting?””No we are not confirming that. We are saying that is a possibility.”

That possibility was later confirmed to be the case.

In the days, weeks, and months after the attack, the servicemen who died were honored as heroes; heroes who not only served to keep our nation safe, but also heroes who gave their lives to help fellow servicemen and servicewomen survive an attack that no one saw coming.

The July 16 shootings weren’t the first terror attack against American interest on US soil… and recent terror attacks in places like San Bernardino, California and Orlando, Florida have proven that it wasn’t the last. But every time it happens, one thing remains certain; Americans rise up and unite as one. Erik Avanier News 12 Now.

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