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4 Marines Murdered in 'Act of Domestic Terrorism'
(AP/WRCB, Chattanooga)

4 Marines Murdered in 'Act of Domestic Terrorism'

Thursday, 16 July 2015 09:55 PM

A gunman of Middle Eastern descent killed four U.S. Marines and wounded another in a shooting at a Navy reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday, before being fatally shot in an attack officials called a brazen, brutal act of domestic terrorism.ties said.

The FBI identified the gunman as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez of Hixon, Tennessee, just a few miles from Chatanooga. He is believed to have been born in Kuwait, and it wass unclear whether he was a U.S. or Kuwaiti citizen, according to an official speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether he was inspired by Islamic State (ISIS) or a similar group. ISIS had threatened to step up violence in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which ends on Friday.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist groups, said that Abdulazeez blogged on Monday that "life is short and bitter" and Muslims should not miss an opportunity to "submit to Allah." Reuters could not independently verify the blog postings.

The New York Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported that his father had been under investigation several years ago over possible ties to a foreign terrorist organization and had been on a terrorist watch list.

The father was later removed from that list and the investigation did not reveal any information about his son, the Times said.

Officials  said the four Marines who were slain died when shots were fired in a Navy reserve center in the city. The wounded Marine was hit by gunfire fired at an Armed Forces recruiting center not far away, a source told Reuters.

The gunman was reported dead after the shootings at a U.S. military recruiting center and a  Naval reserve base. A police officer also was hit by gunfire, authorities and local media said.

Bill Killian, the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee, said the deadly incidents were being investigated as an "act of domestic terrorism."

CBS News reported the gunman was dead a couple of hours after the shootings began, quoting police sources. In a tweet, the Chattanooga Police Department said that the situation was over and that details would be forthcoming. 

The Chattanooga Times Free Press is reporting that four Marines were killed. NBC News affilliate WRBC in Chattanooga earlier reported that the four Marines were shot and have since confirmed their deaths on their live broadcast.

Officials in Chattanooga would not confirm the branch of service of the victims because family members have not been notified.

The gunman,  seen driving an open-top Ford Mustang, first went to the joint military recruiting center in a strip mall and sprayed it with gunfire, riddling the glass facade with bullet holes, before hitting the Navy facility.

"Everybody was at a standstill and as soon as he pulled away everyone scrambled trying to make sure everyone was OK," said Erica Wright, who works two doors down from the center.

"We've got an officer down," Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told reporters, calling it a "very terrible situation."

The Times Free Press is reporting that the officer is in stable condition.

A witness at a glass company near the Navy center said the area was on lockdown, with the shooting there starting at about 11 a.m.

"We have heard multiple shots fired," said Marilyn Hutcheson of Binswanger Glass installation and repair service.

The emergency department at Erlanger Medical Center, a major hospital in the southeastern Tennessee city, was also on lockdown, hospital spokeswoman Susan Sawyer said.

Local media reports said the shooter appeared to be firing from an automobile. A photo of the recruiting center broadcast on cable TV news station CNN showed its entrance riddled with bullet holes.

Federal authorities were also on the scene, local news reports said. The Tennessee Highway Patrol also assisted local law enforcement, said spokesman John Harmon.

Chattanooga State Community College, near where shots were heard, advised on its website: "Everyone stay inside, close doors."

Story continues below video.

A witness at a glass company near the Navy center said the area was on lockdown, with the shooting there starting at about 11 a.m.

"We have heard multiple shots fired," said Marilyn Hutcheson of Binswanger Glass installation and repair service.

The emergency department at Erlanger Medical Center, a major hospital in the southeastern Tennessee city, was also on lockdown, hospital spokeswoman Susan Sawyer said.

Local media reports said the shooter appeared to be firing from an automobile. A photo of the recruiting center broadcast on cable TV news station CNN showed its entrance riddled with bullet holes.

Federal authorities were also on the scene, local news reports said.

Chattanooga State Community College, near where shots were heard, advised on its website: "Everyone stay inside, close doors."

Chattanooga police said in a tweet Thursday afternoon that the active shooter situation was over, though there was no word on what had happened to the suspect or suspects.

 

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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A gunman of Middle Eastern descent killed four U.S. Marines and wounded another in a shooting at a Navy reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday, authorities said.
chattanooga, college, shooting, lockdown
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2015-55-16
Thursday, 16 July 2015 09:55 PM
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