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Western Mass. Native Among 4 Marines Killed In Tennessee

This article is more than 5 years old.

A western Massachusetts native was among four Marines killed by a gunman at a military recruiting station in Tennessee on Thursday.

Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno confirmed the identity of the Marine as 40-year-old Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan.

Sullivan was deployed twice during the Iraq war and received two Purple Hearts. He grew up in Springfield and graduated from Cathedral High School, according to MassLive.com, which first reported his death.

"This is a tragic loss not just for the Springfield community but for our entire nation," Mayor Sarno said in a statement. "Sergeant Sullivan dedicated his life in brave service to his country and to see it end under such tragic circumstances is heart breaking."

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Said Gov. Charlie Baker on his Facebook page: "Terror comes home to Massachusetts. God Bless Tom Sullivan and his family and friends."

Baker ordered U.S. and state flags on public buildings in Massachusetts to be lowered to half-staff in honor of all four Marines killed in Chattanooga.

"A son of Springfield and Purple Heart recipient, Sergeant Sullivan served our nation with honor and fought to keep us safe," U.S. Sen. Ed Markey said in a statement." This is a terrible and heartbreaking loss for [our state] and our nation. My thoughts and prayers are with the Sullivan family and all of the other families affected by this monstrous attack."

Authorities say Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old Kuwait-born engineer, killed the Marines at two military facilities before he was shot and killed by police. His motive remains under investigation.

Sullivan's family now lives near Springfield, in Hampden. Sullivan was one of Jerry and Betty Sullivan's three children, MassLive reported.

An attorney writing on behalf of the family requested privacy and said they "will not be making any public comment in the immediate future."

Sullivan was assigned to the India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines.

This booking photo taken in April and released by the Hamilton County, Tenn., sheriff's office shows a man identified as Mohammod Youssuf Adbulazeez after being detained on suspicion of a driving offense. (AP)
This booking photo taken in April and released by the Hamilton County, Tenn., sheriff's office shows a man identified as Mohammod Youssuf Adbulazeez after being detained on suspicion of a driving offense. (AP)

"For those who have not heard yet, one of the four Marines murdered [Thursday] was one of our own - Thomas Sullivan. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Semper Fidelis Zimminite!" the unit posted on its Facebook page.

Sullivan was also remembered at a Springfield restaurant owned by his brother, Joseph.

"Rest In Peace Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan," was posted on the Facebook page of Nathan Bill's Bar and Restaurant. "He was our hero and he will never be forgotten. Please keep his family & friends in your thoughts & prayers. Thank you Tommy for protecting us."

The restaurant was adorned with a giant U.S. flag and a Marine Corps flag.

The Marine Corps identified the three other men killed in the attack:

-- Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt of Burke, North Carolina;

-- 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."

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press 

This article was originally published on July 17, 2015.

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