- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

GRANTSBURG, Wis. (AP) - Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, one of four Marines killed by a gunman in shootings at military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was remembered in his closely knit hometown Friday as an outdoorsman who was proud of having become a Marine.

Holmquist, identified by the Marine Corps as among those who died, had served in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said he enlisted in January 2009 and was serving as an automotive maintenance technician. He had completed two deployments as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“It’s a very tough day in Grantsburg,” said Grantsburg High School Principal Josh Watt, who was one of Holmquist’s football coaches. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. It’s a tragic day.”

Holmquist graduated from high school in 2008 in Grantsburg, a community of about 1,300 people surrounded by the lakes, rivers and woods of western Wisconsin. Watt said the last time he saw Holmquist was when he visited his alma mater around 2009 in his formal dress uniform.

“I vividly remember when he came back to the high school after boot camp,” Watt said. “He was dressed in his blues and very proud of his accomplishment to have become a Marine.”

Watt remembered him as an avid sportsman and strong cornerback who started as both a junior and senior.

“He was just a great young man, really enjoyed football, hunting and fishing,” Watt recalled.

Holmquist’s father, Thomas Holmquist, of Grantsburg, and other relatives declined to comment.

“I’m not ready to talk right now,” the father said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ordered on Friday that flags be lowered to half-staff to honor Holmquist. The governor’s order says the flags will remain lowered until sunset on the day of the marine’s funeral.

The gunman who opened fire Thursday at a Marine-Navy reserve facility in Chattanooga, who also died in the attack, has been identified by authorities as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.

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