Five days after four U.S. Marines and one sailor were killed in an attack described as an act of domestic terrorism in Chattanooga, Tennessee, President Barack Obama has ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff starting July 21 and ending July 25.
Speaking at the annual VFW convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the President called the victims “American heroes.”
“God bless these American heroes,” Obama told the audience. “As a grateful nation, we must stand up for them and honor them, now and forever.”
Obama added, “Our nation endures because citizens like you put on the uniform and serve to keep us free. We endure because your families stay strong on the homefront. We endure because the freedoms and values you protected are now defended by a new generation – Americans just like our five patriots who gave their lives in Chattanooga.”
According to U.S. Attorney Bill Killian, the shooting is being treated as an “act of domestic terrorism,” CNN reported. The assailant, 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, died shortly after the incident.
While the federal government has been hesitant to label attacks as terrorism in the past, FBI spokesman Ed Reinhold said that the agency “will treat this as a terrorism investigation until we can confirm it is not.”