Darlene Proxmire, the step-grandmother of Randall Smith, called NewsChannel 15 Saturday morning and said he passed away around 4 a.m.This is an update to the previously published story:
PAULDING COUNTY, Ohio (WANE) One of the victims of Thursday’s mass shooting at a pair of Chattanooga, Tennessee military centers was originally from Paulding, Ohio.
Randall Smith was one of the two service members wounded in the barrage of gunfire from 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez that claimed the lives of four Marines in two separate shootings Thursday morning, according to a story posted on the web site of KWCH Eyewitness News 12, the CBS affiliate in Wichita, Kansas. Smith was serving in Chattanooga as a logistics specialist in the U.S. Navy at the time of the shooting. The article indicated his mother now lives in Delphos, Kansas, which is how the station learned of his identity. His step-grandparents live just north of Paulding, Ohio.
His step-grandmother, Darlene Proxmire, told NewsChannel 15 Smith was a great baseball player and even got a scholarship to play in college. She said he hurt his shoulder and joined the Navy shortly after. Proxmire said she first heard about the shooting when a friend left her a voicemail.
“I immediately turned it on CNN and wow it was awful,” Proxmire said.
Smith’s mother is in Chattanooga with him.
“It’s hard to understand how somebody can hurt somebody that’s serving for you. For your freedom, for your safety,” Paula Proxmire said.
Proxmire said Smith has extensive damage to his liver and colon. He immediately underwent surgery at the hospital and Proxmire said he’s had a few more. Badly injured, Proxmire said he was able to communicate to his wife.
“When he came out he finally responded to them and he gave his wife a thumbs up,” Proxmire said.
Proxmire said she never worried about Smith joining the military.
“Because he was never shipped over there where, you know, the fighting and all that was at,” Proxmire said. “He loved the Navy. He loved it in there.”
It was on U-.S. soil when the unthinkable happened.
“It’s terrible,” Proxmire said. “You think oh that’s not going to happen to your family, but by gum it can. It can happen anywhere.”
Abdulazeez, a Kuwait-born engineer, was killed after spraying dozens of bullets first at a military recruiting center then a Navy-Marine training center seven miles away. The attacks were over within a half-hour.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Smith and his wife and children at gofundme.com/chattanoogatn, which will be used to support medical, transportation, housing and needs of the family, it says. As of Saturday morning, the link no longer worked.