Tennessee Shooter Worked At Nuclear Plant, Failed Drug Test

Fact checked
Tennessee shooter

It has been revealed that the Tennessee shooter once worked at a nuclear plant but was fired because he failed a drug test.

According to FOX News [1]:

The Navy announced Saturday that Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 24, had died from his injuries. Smith was one of three people injured when Kuwaiti-born Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at two military recruitment centers, also killing four Marines. Abdulazeez was later shot and killed by police.

Smith was shot three times at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) by Abdulazeez. He was struck in the right arm, back and stomach, family members told the Salina Journal, according to the Chattanoogan.

He underwent several surgeries and died around 2:17 a.m. Saturday. Smith grew up in Paulding, Ohio and leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.

Although badly injured he was still able to communicate with his wife at the hospital after emerging from one of the surgeries.

“When he came out he finally responded to them and he gave his wife a thumbs up,” Proxmire told WANE-TV.

Smith’s death comes as authorities revealed that Abdulazeez had started working in 2013 as an engineer at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant on the shores of Lake Erie.

Fox8 reported that after being hired to work at the nuclear reactor, Abdulazeez went through orientation while he waited to be cleared for permanent employment.

A plant spokeswoman, Stephanie Walton, told the station that his employment lasted all of 10 days, from May 20 to May 30. She said Abdulazeez was fired when he “did not meet minimum requirements for ongoing employment.”

The Associated Press reported Saturday that a federal official briefed on the matter said the issue was a drug test. Perry had earlier said that Abdulazeez had failed a background check.

Walton told Fox8 Abdulazeez had limited access to the facility during his employment.

“He was never given unattended access and never entered the secure area of the plant,” she said, adding he “did not receive access to any confidential sensitive plant information.”

Perry employees recognized a photo of Abdulazeez after the shooting at a military recruiting center and a Navy operations center and alerted company officials.

Plant officials then notified the Nuclear Regulatory Officials and offered their full cooperation to law enforcement conducting a global-wide investigation into the attacks.

Abdulazeez received an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012 and worked as an intern a few years ago at the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally owned utility that operates power plants and dams across the South.

Since April, Abdulazeez had been working at a company in Franklin, Tenn., that makes wires and cables.

Law enforcement officials handling the shooting investigation are scrutinizing Abdulazeez’s background and computers to determine if he was inspired or directed to carry out the shootings by extremists he could have met in the Middle East or online.

Authorities are investigating recent travels by the apparent Islamic radical, including a trip to Jordan in 2014 and another possible jaunt to Yemen.

Sources close to the investigation told Fox News authorities are trying to determine whether Abdulazeez had any contact with extremists during his seven-month stay in Jordan. Abdulazeez is believed to have traveled to the Middle East between April and November 2014.

The FBI is investigating two blog posts written on Monday to determine if Abdulazeez was behind them, including one that proclaimed that life is “short and bitter” and urged readers to “submit to Allah,” the Wall Street Journal reported.  

The National Counterterrorism Center said it is still reviewing its data holdings and watch lists and have so far found no positive hits for Abdulazeez, though it emphasized the review is ongoing.


[1] http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/07/19/sailor-in-chattanooga-shooting-has-died-death-toll-now-5/

Royce Christyn

Royce Christyn

Journalist at News Punch
Documentarian, Writer, Producer, Director, Author.
Royce Christyn

1 Comment

  1. What about the crisis actors?? Did they get drug tested as well? You know those Drama types…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.