- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

HAMPDEN, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts officials are offering their condolences to the family of a 40-year-old Marine from Springfield who was killed by the gunman who attacked two military sites in Tennessee.

Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno identified the Marine as Sgt. Thomas Sullivan.

“This is a tragic loss not just for the Springfield community but for our entire nation,” Sarno said in a statement. “Sergeant Sullivan dedicated his life in brave service to his country and to see it end under such tragic circumstances is heart breaking.”

Gov. Charlie Baker ordered U.S. and state flags on public buildings in Massachusetts to be lowered to half-staff in honor of all four Marines killed Thursday in Chattanooga.

“Terror comes home to Massachusetts. God Bless Tom Sullivan and his family and friends,” Baker posted on his Facebook page.

Authorities say Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old engineer born in Kuwait, killed the Marines before he was shot and killed by police. His motive remains under investigation.

Sullivan grew up in Springfield and graduated from Cathedral High School, according to Masslive.com, which first reported his death. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and earned a Purple Heart, Masslive.com reported.

His family now lives in the nearby community of Hampden, about 80 miles west of Boston. Efforts to reach the family on Friday were not immediately successful.

Outside his parents’ home, a police officer was stationed to keep away reporters and other onlookers at the request of the family.

Hampden Police Chief Jeff Fansworth said family members were asking for privacy.

“I think any time any family suffers a loss, it takes a little time to come to terms with it, and the family is not comfortable making a statement until they really have a little bit of time to come to terms with it, which we believe is very appropriate,” Fansworth said.

Family members were in the house Friday morning and letting in visitors bringing flowers, food and other gifts. At one point, a man walked outside to provide water to the police officer but declined to speak to reporters.

Sullivan was one of Jerry and Betty Sullivan’s three children.

Sullivan was assigned to the India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines. “For those who have not heard yet, one of the four Marines murdered (Thursday) was one of our own - Thomas Sullivan. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Semper Fidelis Zimminite!” the unit posted on its Facebook page.

Sullivan was also remembered at Nathan Bill’s Bar and Restaurant, a Springfield restaurant owned by his brother, Joseph.

“Rest In Peace Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan,” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page. “He was our hero and he will never be forgotten. Please keep his family & friends in your thoughts & prayers. Thank you Tommy for protecting us.”

The restaurant was adorned with a giant U.S. flag and a Marine Corps flag.

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