Horror in Chattanooga today—four Marines dead, a soldier and police officer wounded, and a city in chaos.
Five people have died after a lone attacker unleashed a spray of gunfire at two separate military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Four Marines were killed in Thursday’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a senior defense official told CNN’s Barbara Starr. The families of those killed are being notified of their deaths, the official said.
The suspected shooter is also dead, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said
Investigators “have not determined whether it was an act of terrorism or whether it was a criminal act,” FBI special agent in charge Ed Reinhold told reporters. “We are looking at every possible avenue, whether it was terrorism — whether it was domestic, international — or whether it was a simple, criminal act.”
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian earlier told reporters that authorities were treating the shooting as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
The identity of the shooter has been confirmed:
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) July 16, 2015
BREAKING: Chattanooga shooting suspect identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez: CBS, citing two law enforcement sources
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 16, 2015
You can watch live, local coverage here:
We will continue to update this post throughout the evening.
The NBC affiliate in Chattanooga has confirmed that Abdulazeez is in fact a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kuwait.
CBS News has witness statements:
A Marine recruiter was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to the leg, the Marine Corps said on its Facebook page.
“Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country, and I think I join all Tennesseans in being both sickened and saddened by this,” Gov. Bill Haslam said.
The shootings began at a recruiting center on Old Lee Highway in Chattanooga where five branches of the military all have adjoining offices. A gunshot rang out around 10:30 or 10:45 a.m., said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, 36, the center leader for U.S. Army recruiting at the center.
“Shortly after that, just a few seconds, the shooter began shooting more rounds. We realized it was an actual shooting,” he said.
He and his colleagues then got on the ground and barricaded themselves in a safe place. Dodge estimated there were 30 to 50 shots fired.
He did not see the shooter or a vehicle. The Army recruiting office was not damaged, but doors and glass were damaged at the neighboring Air Force, Navy and Marine offices, he said.
After the shooting, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that it was “enhancing the security posture at certain federal facilities, out of an abundance of caution.”
Law enforcement officials told recruiters that the shooter was in a car, stopped in front of the facility, shot at the building and drove off, said Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
One witness told CBS affiliate WDEF that a man who was in a silver Mustang convertible was “just unloading a large gun on the Naval recruiting office.”
The Pentagon has addressed the security situation at its nationwide recruiting centers:
In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren addressed security measures at recruiting facilities around the country:
“We have our recruiting centers set up in places easily accessible to the public. For example, a strip mall. So security there is not what you’d see at a Ft. Bragg, a Norfolk Naval Air Station or at Quantico. So this is something we have to face. Security is not as extensive as it would be at a major installation. This is because we have to be in contact with the American public. We’re continuing to look into this incident, working very closely with both federal and local law enforcement agencies to determine exactly what happened and if we need to make any adjustments.”
A now-suspended ISIS-associated (by all appearances) Twitter account tweeted about the attacks this afternoon. (The timestamp is Pacific time—NOT local time. The tweet was not sent before or during the attacks.)
Here’s a screenshot of the Tweet taken from the same timezone—at 1:34 pm:
Counterterrorism officials have released an initial report showing no “nexus to terrorism” (at least for now):
Spokespeople at the TVA better eat their Wheaties—it’s going to be a long week:
The federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority confirms to BuzzFeed News Chattanooga suspect was an intern there pic.twitter.com/DynSWsz42s
— Stephanie McNeal (@stephemcneal) July 16, 2015
The suspect’s former coach passed along an older photo of Abdulazeez:
Here's an older, undated photo of Abdulazeez, provided by a former coach. Photo likely 5 years old or so pic.twitter.com/cCaFBRel85
— Shelly Bradbury (@ShellyBradbury) July 16, 2015
The coach, Kevin Emily, gave an interview on CNN:
Kevin Emily, his former coach, told Burnett this was shocking to hear, since Abdulazeez was a “great student” who got along with everyone and was a very humble and respectful student.
Burnett asked about the role religion played in Abdulazeez’s life. Emily said he was fairly religious and asked to take a moment to pray during practice sometimes.
But as far as he’s concerned, there were “no red flags” about his behavior at all.
Earlier, law enforcement officials surrounded the family home and made arrests:
Law enforcement have swarmed the house in a neighborhood around a 15-minute drive away from the scene, believed to belong to Abdulazeez’s family.
Witnesses saw officers with weapons drawn at the house and two unidentified females were led away in handcuffs.
Government agencies are now trying to determine the motives behind his attack and whether he was inspired by ISIS.
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