Over the weekend, the Internet lit up with rumors that the Navy had decided to charge Lieutenant Commander Timothy White for allegedly using his personal firearm to engage Chattanooga shooter Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez. According to the Navy Times:
A report distributed among senior Navy leaders during the shooting’s aftermath said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center’s commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage Abdulazeez, Navy Times confirmed with four separate sources. A Navy official also confirmed a Washington Post report indicating one of the slain Marines may have been carrying a 9mm Glock and possibly returned fire on the gunman.
Allen West, Jim Webb, and others reported that White had been charged or would soon be charged for illegally discharging a firearm on federal property. According to a Navy statement, however, the report wasn’t true. At least not yet:
Stories of Navy personnel being charged with an offense are not true,” the statement said. “There is still a long way to go in reviewing the facts of this tragic incident, but at this time we can confirm no service member has been charged with an offense.”
Fox reported, however, that a Navy official told it that charges could not be “completely ruled out.” While we still don’t have an definitive account of the attack, it wouldn’t shock me if Lieutenant Commander White was carrying a personal firearm. I’ve heard of soldiers defying the Pentagon’s absurd weapons ban, and I suspect that there will be immense internal pressure to prosecute – especially if his return fire was deemed ineffective.
There’s much we still don’t know, but for now charges do not seem imminent. Stay tuned.