Subscribe

4 Marines killed, gunman dead in Tennessee military shootings

Authorities say a lone gunman shot at a military recruiting office in Chattanooga, then attacked a Navy-Marine training center a few miles away.

  • close
    Reserve Recruitment personnel stand outside a Navy recruiting building as the area is cordoned off with blue shell casing markers in the parking lot on Thursday, July 16, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
    Tim Barber, Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

A gunman unleashed a barrage of gunfire at two military facilities a few miles apart in Chattanooga on Thursday, killing at least four Marines, officials said. The gunman was also killed.

US Attorney Bill Killian said officials were treating the attacks as an act of "domestic terrorism," though FBI agent Ed Reinhold said authorities were still investigating a motive.

A US official speaking on condition of anonymity identified the gunman as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez of Hixton, Tennessee, and said he was believed to have been born in Kuwait, though it was unclear whether he was a US or Kuwaiti citizen.

"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 attacks took places minutes apart, with the gunman stopping his car and opening fire first at a military recruiting center for all five branches of the military, then apparently driving to a Navy-Marine training center 7 miles away. The attacks were over within a half-hour.

The Marine Corps said four Marines were killed, and a fifth Marine was wounded in the leg, treated at a hospital and released. Also, a police officer was shot in the ankle, Mayor Andy Berke said.

Authorities gave no details on how the gunman was killed.

The shootings began at the recruiting center on Old Lee Highway, where a shot rang out around 10:30 or 10:45 a.m., followed a few seconds later by more fire, said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, the leader for Army recruiting at the center.

He and his comrades got on the ground and barricaded themselves in a safe place. Dodge estimated there were 30 to 50 shots fired. Doors and glass were damaged at the neighboring Air Force, Navy and Marine offices, he said.

Law enforcement officials told recruiters that the gunman was in a car, stopped in front of the facility, shot at the building and drove off, said Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the US Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The recruiting center sits in a short strip between a cellphone business and an Italian restaurant with no apparent additional security.

Within minutes of that attack, the gunman opened fire at the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center Chattanooga. All of the dead were killed there.

The center is in a light industrial area that includes a Coca-Cola bottling plant. The two entrances to the fenced facility have unmanned gates and concrete barriers that require approaching cars to slow down to drive around them.

Marilyn Hutcheson, who works at Binswanger Glass across the street, said she heard a barrage of gunfire around 11 a.m.

"I couldn't even begin to tell you how many," she said. "It was rapid-fire, like pow-pow-pow-pow-pow, so quickly. The next thing I knew, there were police cars coming from every direction."

She ran inside, and she and other employees and a customer waited it out with the doors locked. The gunfire continued with occasional bursts for what she estimated was 20 minutes. Bomb squads, SWAT teams and other local, state and federal authorities rushed to the scene.

"If it was a grievance or terroristic related, we just don't know," she said.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK