UPDATE: Gunman had "even bigger plans to kill" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Gunman had "even bigger plans to kill"

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A car tangled in fencing sits parked just inside the gate at the Naval Operational Support Center and Marine Reserve Center where a gunman opened fire Thursday killing four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga. AP Photo/John Bazemore A car tangled in fencing sits parked just inside the gate at the Naval Operational Support Center and Marine Reserve Center where a gunman opened fire Thursday killing four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga. AP Photo/John Bazemore
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

New details are emerging about the final moments of Thursday’s tragic mass shooting in Chattanooga.

A lone gunman shot and killed four U.S. Marines and a critically injured a Sailor who died on Saturday. The gunman, who was wearing a load-bearing vest and heavily armed, also wounded a Chattanooga police officer.

Sources have confirmed to Channel 3 that 24-year-old Muhammad Youssuf Abdulazeez was armed with an assault rifle and had several extended clips. During a press conference Friday afternoon, authorities confirmed that Abdulazeez had a total of two long guns as well as a handgun.

Abdulazeez first opened fire at the Armed Forces Recruiting Center at 6219 Lee Highway before heading for the reserve center.

Chattanooga officers opened fired on Abdulazeez, who was found inside the Naval Marine Corps Reserve Center at 4210 Amnicola Highway after he drove through the gate in a silver convertible Ford Mustang. 

"The suspect soon made his intent, his cowardly, homicidal intent clear,"Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said. Officers opened fire.

Sources say two seasoned officers, including an officer with a military background, risked their own lives and entered the gunman’s line of fire to rescue another responding officer.

An officer dragged fellow officer, Dennis Pedigo, to safety with one arm and returned fire at Abdulazeez with the other. Pedigo was wounded when he suffered a gunshot wound to his ankle.

The officer, who served in the Army, graduated from a military university. He has deployed several times. A photo of him in uniform from 2014 shows he earned the rank of major.

 “Police hit [Abdulazeez ] with everything to take him down,” one source said.

Authorities will be conducting an autopsy over the weekend.

The bodies of  Abdulazeez and four Marines -- Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl.Skip Wells, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt and Sgt. Carson Holmquist -- were transported Friday via motorcade to a federal facility. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith died early Saturday morning.

With the amount of firepower, Abdulazeez  had “even bigger plans to kill,” a source said.

Fletcher commended the officers' heroic acts at a press conference Friday.

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Chattanooga police officers prevented loss of life yesterday," he said. "They are my heroes. I've never been prouder to be a police officer than I was yesterday and today. I am extremely proud to be a Chattanooga police officer."

Fletcher, who has spoken to all officers involved, said they are doing, "very, very well."

Federal authorities continued to document the crime scene on Saturday morning. Investigators will continue to look into Abdulazeez’s background and what he was doing leading up to the attacks.

Mayor Andy Berke alluded to the heroic acts of the officers Thursday night at a press conference.

“I’m going to think about another officer who was at the scene and engaged the criminal, telling us about how the training he had received helped make sure the actions didn’t have greater effect,” he said.

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