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Navy Servicemen Shot in Chattanooga Rampage Will Receive Purple Hearts

by Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube /

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Five Marines and one sailor shot in an attack on a Naval reserve center will receive Purple Hearts, the Navy announced Wednesday.

All but one of the victims died in the July 16 shooting, in which Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a Kuwait-born naturalized U.S. citizen, rammed his car through the Chattanooga, Tennessee, center's gate and opened fire. The siege ended with police officers killing him.

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire D. 'Skip' Wells and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith all died. Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley was injured.

Authorities have debated whether the attack was related to terrorism. On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey offered some clarity, telling reporters that Abdulazeez was inspired and motivated by "foreign terrorist organizations' propaganda."

But the source of that propaganda was not clear, he said.

That acknowledgment came days after President Obama listed Chattanooga in a list of recent terror attacks.

Investigators' determination that the attack was inspired by a foreign terrorist group was the final criteria needed for the victims to qualify for the Purple Heart, the Navy said.

The Navy did not say when it would formally distribute the awards.

Image: Four Marines Killed In Military Center Shootings In Chattanooga, Tennessee
A photograph of the victims is seen among the memorial setup in front of the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office on July 18, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

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