COBB COUNTY, Ga. —
Hundreds of people lined streets and overpasses to say goodbye to a Cobb County Marine who was killed in the Chattanooga military shootings.
A police motorcade escorted the body of Lance Cpl. Skip Wells from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport along Interstate 75 to Cobb County, where his funeral will be held.
Heather Henderson brought her two boys to join the hundreds of people who lined up on the Canton Connector Bridge Thursday.
“I’m from Cleveland, Tennessee, which is close to Chattanooga, so the entire incident was close to home,” Henderson told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt.
For Henderson, this was her way to honor Wells and his ultimate sacrifice and, at the same time, to teach her young ones a lifelong lesson.
“To know that these guys lose their lives on home soil, it’s just terrible. And to know they’re losing their lives overseas — I want my boys to understand why we’re here, and I want them to understand early why we respect our military,” Henderson said.
“I’m waiting to see the brave soldier,” said young Abbie Kidd.
Abbie knew why she was there, which made her mother proud.
“It’s super important for them to see it because we’re Americans and this transcends any race, creed or religion. This is someone who gave his life for us and he protects our freedom, he protects my children, he protects my husband,” said Abbie’s mother, Andrea Kidd.
As the procession moved by the thousands on Cobb Parkway in Kennesaw, many of those watching told Cavitt the lesson this day was that America is a country that can come together when it counts.
The Wells family says it is thankful for the support from the Marines and the community.
VIDEO: Memorial growing at Cobb County high school of Marine killed in Chattanooga shooting
Visitations for Wells are scheduled on Friday from 2-4 p.m. and Saturday from 6-8 p.m. at the Winkenhoffer Funeral Home, in Kennesaw.
The funeral will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon First Baptist Church of Woodstock.
All services are open to the public.
Officials on Wednesday released new details of last week’s brazen assault in Chattanooga, describing a chaotic scene of mostly unarmed Marines scrambling to escape the man who approached with an assault rifle, a handgun and a vest full of extra ammunition. Five didn’t make it.
One service member inside the building saw Abdulazeez approaching and fired at him, likely with a personal weapon. Abdulazeez shot back, entered the building and fatally wounded Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith. At the same time, Marines ran from room-to-room, trying to get their fellow service members to safety.
Meanwhile, Chattanooga police were just behind Abdulazeez, having been called a few minutes earlier when he opened fire on a military recruiting center about 7 miles away before driving off, leaving the windows pockmarked with bullet holes.
As Abdulazeez made his way through the reserve center he “continued to shoot those he encountered,” FBI Knoxville Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said at a news conference. Then he walked out the back door into a gated motor pool area where troops were scrambling over a fence to safety. At least two Marines tried to “provide cover” for the others, Reinhold said.
The whole thing ended just a few minutes after it began, as police caught up to Abdulazeez, shooting and killing him — but not before he managed to wound one of them.
A total of 20 Marines and two Navy corpsmen were at the center that day, checking their equipment after a training mission in California.