WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson is urging the Navy not to discipline Lt. Commander Timothy White for using a firearm against a gunman who murdered five U.S. military service members last month at a recruitment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
During the July 16 attack by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez — that left four Marines and one Navy sailor dead — White fired back at Abdulazeez with his own firearm. Military personnel are banned from carrying weapons inside military recruiting and reserve stations.
But Hudson, a Republican representing the 8th District, said White’s actions should be “applauded.” Hudson also supports passage of the Semper Fi Act, a bill to empower eligible service members to protect themselves at military recruitment facilities.
“When I first heard the reports that the Navy would even for a second consider charging Lt Commander White for protecting his fellow service members, my blood boiled,” Hudson said in a statement. “This patriot should be applauded — not shamed and reprimanded for his heroic actions.”
Hudson has joined others in Congress in sending a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter asking that the Navy not to pursue disciplinary action against White for having and using a firearm.
Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb, a Marine war hero and former Navy secretary, has also raised concerns about what the Navy plans to do with White.
“He deserves a medal, not an indictment,” Webb said on Twitter.
The Navy has said that its investigation into the shooting is ongoing, but there are no current charges against White.
“Stories of Navy personnel being charges with an offense are not true,” according to a statement from the Navy. “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.”
Still talk about possible charges continues to make its way around social media ever since columnist and former Republican Congressman Allen West began urging people to contact military officials on White’s behalf.
West wrote on Saturday that sources told him that White would face a reprimand and could possibly be court marshaled.
“This story has me dog-fighting mad,” West, a former Lt. colonel in the Army wrote. “What kind of freaking idiots are in charge of our armed forces?”
But military experts say that because possession of personal weapons at a military center is a violation, Navy JAG is obligated to review the case.
“Navy JAG can’t pick and choose which felony violations they will review and which they won’t” said Mark Caldwell, whose highly acclaimed “Patriot Post” focuses on political and military issues. “Nor should they be condemned for being obligated to review this case.
“I would hope that White would not be subject to any punishment under the circumstances, but … there is a constitutional obligation to review this case. West knows this and … however well intended, looks a lot like a publicity stunt.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.