The Marine Corps has confirmed that it has prepared Purple Heart award packages for the Marines killed last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, must first formally declare ties between the shooter, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, and a foreign terrorist organization before the packets can be submitted.
"Determination of eligibility will have to wait until all the facts are gathered and the FBI investigation is complete," Marine Corps public affairs officer Maj. Clark Carpenter told Marine Corps Times.
The Marine Corps is also looking into the criteria and requirements for awarding the Purple Heart to Sgt. DeMonte Cheeley, a recruiter who was injured in the attack, said Capt. Alejandro Aguilera, a spokesman for 6th Marine Corps District.
Cheeley was shot in the leg after Abdulazeez drove up to his recruiting office and fired dozens of rounds through the storefront window. The shooter later drove to the nearby Navy Operational Support Center where he continued his attack, killing four Marines and a sailor.
McCain also said that new legislation may be required to make sure the victims are eligible, according to the Washington Times.
Photo Credit: Alan Lessig/Staff
The stipulation reflects changes made to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act to retroactively award the medal to the victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
In that attack, 13 people were killed and 32 people wounded when U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hassan opened fire on the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at the base.
Ten Purple Hearts were awarded posthumously for those killed in the attack, and 26 to those wounded.
Federal officials are still trying to determine if Abdulazeez had been "radicalized" to attack the Armed Forces Recruiting Center and Navy Operational Support Center.
Staff writer James K. Sanborn contributed to this report.