Father Of Fallen Marine: A Great Loss For Our Country

MORGANTON, NC — We’re learning more about the four victims in a deadly shooting spree, targeting members of the military in Chattanooga.  One of the victims, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, was born in Burke County.  His family even lived in Charlotte until recently.  

More than a thousand people packed an interfaith memorial service for the victims Friday night in Chattanooga.  While people remember the victims, the feds are working to figure out a motive.

At least one friend says the suspect changed after a visit to the Middle East.  The FBI says 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez wore a vest to carry ammo, and had multiple weapons during Thursday’s shooting spree.  Some of the weapons may have been obtained illegally.

We’ve also learned Abdulazeez worked at a nuclear plant in Ohio in 2013, but lost the job because he couldn’t pass a background check.  And the Marine Corps Recruiting Command has apparently instructed Marine recruiters not to wear uniforms at work.

Pictures and accounts from family tell a lot about Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, the fallen Marine from Burke County.  We’re hearing from his father Allen Wyatt as we learn more about the man behind the uniform.

 

“We’re stunned that this happened like this and the country lost four fine young men yesterday.  It’s a great loss for the country,” said Allen Wyatt.

 

A husband of 15 years and a father of two small children, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt was a family man.  On Facebook, his wife calls him an amazing husband.

“They don’t understand what exactly’s going on.  My daughter-in-law explained to my young grandson that his father was killed by a real bad man,” said Allen Wyatt.

Pictures of family vacations, father-son moments and his kids in his arms, waving American flags.  Family members saying Wyatt was always faithful, both to his family and his country.

Wyatt was deployed three times, including two tours in Iraq.  On his return to the States in 2013, his wife Lorri posted photos of his kids welcoming him home.  His son, holding a sign that says “You are my hero Daddy”.

According to Wyatt’s Facebook page, he went to high school in Arkansas, attended the University of Montana, and then enlisted in the military in Burke County.  Wyatt enlisted in May of 2004.  It’s not clear how long he lived in Burke County, but his parents also lived in north Charlotte until earlier this year.  

Wyatt was one of four Marines killed in Chattanooga Thursday.  The others, Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan from Massachusetts, Sergeant Carson Holmquist from Wisconsin, and Lance Corporal Squire “Skip” Wells from Georgia.

“I know he was in ROTC in high school.  He loved that.  I just think that’s just a calling that he had,” said Garrett Reed, a friend of Wells.

The 30-minute rampage ended when police killed the shooter.  

 

Security remains a concern at recruiting offices across the country.  We stopped by a Marine recruiting center on Park Road Friday.  The front doors were locked with signs posted showing no guns are allowed.

The Marines inside unlocked the doors to let us in, but had no comment other than telling us they always keep the doors locked.