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Gunman identified after four Marines killed in Tennessee

1 year 3 months 5 days ago July 16, 2015 Jul 16, 2015 Thursday, July 16 2015 July 16, 2015 4:53 PM in News
Source: WBRZ / CNN
By: WBRZ Staff

CHATTANOOGA, TN - The death toll in the Chattanooga shootings includes four U.S. Marines and the sole gunman believed responsible, according to city Mayor Andy Berke.

The FBI confirmed the identity of the suspected shooter as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. He was believed to have been born in Kuwait, and it was unclear whether he was a U.S. or Kuwaiti citizen. He is from Hixson, Tennessee, which is just a few miles across the river from Chattanooga. According to CNN, law enforcement officials said he was a naturalized U. S. citizen who also had Jordanian citizenship, and who studied at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.

U.S. attorney Bill Killian called the killings at the military sites an "act of domestic terrorism," though the FBI said they have not determined the exact motive yet. Federal agents swarmed a home Thursday believed to belong the Abdulazeez. An Associated Press reporter saw officers with weapons drawn at the house and said two women were led away in handcuffs.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she's directing the FBI to take the lead on a "national security" investigation into the Chattanooga attacks. She said the two shootings at military sites in Chattanooga represented a "heinous attack."

Chattanooga Police reported the situation was "over" around 12:15 p.m. CT, after around an hour of blocking roads and searching for the person or persons responsible.

"Horrific incident in our community," Berke tweeted earlier Thursday morning. "We will release details as they are confirmed. Prayers to all those affected."

The U.S. Navy later confirmed the shooting at the Naval Reserve Center on Twitter, and said they were investigating a second incident at a recruiting center on Lee Highway. 

The Associated Press reported Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, 36, was working at the Armed Forces Career Center off Lee Highway when someone opened fire and he heard 30 to 50 shots. The center also has Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel there. U.S. Army Recruiting said all personnel were safe.

"We heard one single shot, which kind of sparked our attention. Shortly after that, just a few seconds, the shooter began shooting more rounds. We realized it was an actual shooting, so we then initiated our active shooter drill: getting down low to the ground, moving to a safe location. And we waited until everything seemed to be clear."

CNN also reported that a witness told them she saw a man with a "high-powered rifle" fire multiple shots from a silver Mustang. She said she was watching the scene through a window from inside a restaurant. Those reports were not confirmed by police.

President Barack Obama promised a thorough investigation into the attacks, saying it appears at this time to be the work of a lone gunman. Obama called the shooting a "heartbreaking circumstance" and said he's been in touch with the Defense Department to make sure military facilities are vigilant.


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