RUMORS OF WEAPONS CHARGES SWIRL AFTER NAVY SHOOTING IN CHATTANOOGA
August 3, 2015
Over this past weekend, to the outrage of many, rumors spread that Navy Lt. Commander Timothy White would face weapons charges due to his role in the Chattanooga shooting last month. White, who allegedly fired back at the perpetrator in that attack, would have needed to carry a personal firearm into the facility to do so—an action that is strictly prohibited in stateside military facilities.
On July 16, Muhammad Abdulazeez opened fire on Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, killing four marines and one sailor. While the incident is still under investigation, there were quickly reports that some military personnel had returned fire on Abdulazeez (including from the Washington Post). However, the Navy Operational Support Center, like countless military facilities across the country, has a strict no firearm policy for service men and women.
Last Saturday, retired Army Lt. Colonel and FOX New Contributor Allen West wrote on his website that he had gotten word that Lt. Commander Timothy White, the support center's commanding officer, would be facing weapons charges for returning fire on Abdulazeez, an action that many consider a heroic act. The government's no gun policy on domestic military outposts is already controversial among military supporters and West's writing on the matter was quickly circulated to other pundit websites, blogs, and social media.
CLARIFICATION FROM THE NAVY
By Sunday, August 2, the Navy began to clarify their position on the story on social media. In a Facebook response to angry commenters, they said that "stories of Navy personnel being charged with an offense are not true. There is still a long way to go in reviewing the facts of this tragic incident, but at this time we can confirm no service member has been charged with an offense."
For some, the fact that charges for White have not been ruled out is still unacceptable. However, the Chattanooga shooting was a recent, violent incident that is still currently under investigation. No one—least of all White and his family—can benefit from rampant speculation following an event as tragic as this. It is still unclear how this case will be resolved, but, as with any violent event, a proper investigation and due process must be protected in order to best serve the survivors.
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