SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – To the nation, Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan was a U.S. Marine who fought for our country. To western Massachusetts, he was a loved one, a family member and a friend to so many people.
A deadly shooting at a Chattanooga, Tennessee military recruiting center was enough to send a nation into mourning. Finding out one of the lives lost was from western Mass. caused heartache for our region words can’t describe.
Annmarie Diaz of Springfield told 22News, “The gentleman went and fought our war and nothing happened to him, but he has to come home and it happened here. It’s just unbelievable.”
40-year-old GySgt. Sullivan was one of the five people killed that day. He was one of Mohammad Abdulazeez victims, who opened fire at two military facilities before he was finally stopped and killed by police. Now police are investigating why he did it.
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Andre Fournier of Chicopee said, “I don’t understand the people today, the way they retaliate. I don’t like that, but that’s the world we have to live in.”
As police investigate, five communities are now bidding a final farewell to their own hometown hero.
Filippo Ferrauto of Somers said, “The fact that he gave his life; he was a hero, as far as I’m concerned, the first day he put on the uniform.”
Sullivan grew up in Springfield. He was a decorated marine who served in Iraq and earned two purple hearts. Over the last week and a half there’s been an outpouring of support from the community for both the family and the marine, our own local hero, who made the ultimate sacrifice.
According to his obituary, Sullivan loved being a Marine. The only thing he loved more was being an uncle to his three nieces and his nephew.