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Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning Visits Chattanooga to Pay Respects to Fallen Marines, Sailor

( [email protected] ) Jul 20, 2015 01:21 PM EDT
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning recently visited with police and military members in Chattanooga, Tennessee to pay his respects following a tragic shooting last week which left four Marines and a Navy sailor dead.
NFL star Peyton Manning stops by Amnicola shooting scene to show his support for Chattanooga police and military members. WRCB

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning recently visited with police and military members in Chattanooga, Tennessee to pay his respects following a tragic shooting last week which left four Marines and a Navy sailor dead.

According to local station WRCB-TV, the NFL star showed up late Saturday night at the Navy & Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga, one of two locations where U.S. service members were fatally shot Thursday.

Manning, who played for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville before his impressive NFL career began, spent time with military personnel and police officers and reportedly toured the reserve center. Following his visit, Chattanooga Police posted a photo on social media with the message, "Thank you for stopping by and for your support Peyton Manning."

The city of Chattanooga continues to mourn in the aftermath of the horrific attacks, carried out by 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez. The massacre has been described as a "domestic act of terrorism," are is currently being investigated by the FBI and local officials.

"Even though it seems like we're going through our worst time, we believe that you will transform it into our finest hour," Pastor Kevin Adams prayed an an interfaith memorial service held on Friday. "We thank you that the people of God have come together and we will pray like we have never prayed before...love will always outdo evil." 

Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait but was a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived in Hixson, TN at the time of the attacks. On Thursday morning, he opened fire on the military recruiting station before going to the reserve center where he killed four U.S. Marines. A fifth victim, a 26-year-old Navy sailor, died Saturday from injuries he sustained in the attack.

Two others, a Marine and a Chattanooga police officer, remain hospitalized for injuries that have been described as non-life threatening. Abdulazeez was killed in a shootout with Chattanooga police.

While authorities continue to investigate a motive for the attack, an unnamed family representative told The Associated Press on Sunday that Abdulazeez traveled to Jordan last year to try to escape negative influences that appeared to be dominating his life.

That trip came after a failed effort by relatives several years ago to have Abdulazeez admitted to an inpatient drug and alcohol program, and after a DUI arrest in Chattanooga three months ago, said the family representative.

Around the same time, he began writing about suicidal thoughts in a journal, ABC News reported. The FBI discovered the shooter's diary days after the killings, and entries from just after his 2013 layoff described how he wanted to become "a martyr."

Speaking on Thursday, President Barack Obama offered his sympathies to the families of the victims and promised a thorough and prompt investigation into the attack.

"It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who have served our country with great valor to be killed in this fashion," he said.