Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher choked up Friday during a press conference where he lauded the bravery of the men on his force who sprang into action when a shooter opened fire at military facilities there.
"They are my heroes," Fletcher said about the men on his force.
The Chattanooga officers, he said, dragged a wounded colleague to safety during a gunfight with the alleged shooter, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, and likely prevented more bloodshed.
On Thursday morning Abdulazeez killed four Marines and wounded a police officer and several others when he assaulted two separate military facilities in Chattanooga. He was killed in a fire fight with authorities, and his rampage is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
FBI agent, Ed Reinhold, confirmed that Abdulazeez was not wearing body armor but he was wearing a load-bearing vest to carry magazines of ammunition while moving on foot.
A law enforcement official said the three weapons that Abdulazeez had were an AK-47-type assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a 9 mm pistol.
Fletcher said if not for the action from his team, things could have been worse.
"No doubt officers in Chattanooga prevented loss of lives yesterday," Fletcher said in a press conference with FBI officials on Friday.
Marine Corps. Captain Ty Balzer also expressed gratitiude for the police officers.
"The U.S. Marine Corps thanks the law enforcement and emergency personnel here in Chattanooga," Balzer said Friday.