Four U.S. Marines lost their lives when a lone gunman opened fire at two military centers earlier today. Three people — including a responding police officer — were injured. The suspect, identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, was shot and killed.
The FBI has yet to determine a motive for this morning’s shootings that took place in Chattanooga, Tennessee. WRCB 3 News reports the shooting suspect fired 25 to 30 rounds at a military recruitment center that began around 10:45 a.m. and lasted close to 30 minutes.
“Today was a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga,” said Mayor Andy Berke.
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CBS News reveals the incident began at a military center on Old Lee Highway when the gunman stopped his car in front of the facility and opened fire before driving away. A witness told news reporters the shooter was in a silver convertible and unloaded “a large gun on the Naval recruiting office.” Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge said the Army office did not receive any damage, but neighboring Navy, Air Force and Marine offices did.
Shortly after the first shooting took place, the gunman quickly went to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center, roughly seven miles away, where he opened fire. Marilyn Hutcheson, an employee at Binswanger Glass, believes she heard shots around 11 a.m. “It was rapid fire, like pow pow pow pow pow, so quickly,” retells Marilyn. “The next thing I knew, there were police cars coming from every direction.” All four Marines were killed at this location. Their names have yet to be released.
“We’ve had a tragedy unfold in Chattanooga today,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian considers today’s Chattanooga shooting an “act of domestic terrorism,” WBIR News reports. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will continue to help local authorities with the investigation.
Authorities believe the shooting suspect lived in the area and are unsure whether or not he had a military background. They do reveal he was not an employee at either of the locations and had multiple weapons. The Tennessean reports the 24-year-old was a naturalized citizen from Kuwait and possibly a University of Tennessee graduate with an engineering degree.
As the story continues to unfold, our hearts ache for the families of those affected and all members of the military.