Gunman kills four Marines in an ‘act of domestic terrorism’

Four marines are dead after a gunman opened fire on Thursday at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The shooter is also dead, according to police.

{mosads}“We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian. “This is a sad day for the United States.”

“These service members served their country with pride, and they have been the victims of these shootings.”

The FBI confirmed the identity of the shooter to The Hill as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, reportedly a naturalized citizen from Kuwait.

“While it would be premature to speculate on the motives of the shooter at this time, we will conduct a thorough investigation of this tragedy and provide updates as they are available,” the FBI said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, he was a resident of Hixson, Tenn., just a few miles away from Chattanooga.

FBI spokesman Ed Reinhold said the gunman first attacked a recruitment center on Lee Highway in Chattanooga before going to the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center a few miles away on Amnicola Highway.

The shooter, and all four of victims, died at the second location, Reinhold added. He would not provide additional details.

Witnesses heard multiple gunshots at both locations.

NBC’s local affiliate reported that the gunman shot 25 to 30 rounds at the military recruitment center.

In addition to the four Marines killed, the gunman also shot one police officer — who is currently receiving treatment in a local medical center — and two others, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told reporters.

“It is incomprehensible to see what happened and the way that individuals who proudly serve our country were treated,” Berke said.

Reinhold said one shooter likely conducted both attacks.

“We will treat this as a terrorism investigation until we can confirm it is not,” Reinhold said during a press conference.

“We had no intelligence indicating there would be some type of attack today.”

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that police officers had blocked off the road leading to Abdulazeez’s house and appeared to be preparing to search it on Thursday afternoon.

Abdulazeez had been arrested for driving under the influence in April, the Free Press added.

President Obama on Thursday said a full investigation is underway.

“I want everyone to understand we will be thorough and prompt in figuring out exactly what happened,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office. 
Obama said he was briefed by FBI director and White House staff on the shooting. 
He said his main message was to offer condolences to the American people and the families of service members killed in the shooting. 
“I want them to know that I speak for the American people in expressing our deepest condolences and knowing they have our full support,” he said.  
He said it was “heartbreaking” that members of the military who served wit “with great valor have been killed in this fashion.”
The president said he is in touch with the Department of Defense, which is making sure military bases around the country are secured. 
The shooting in Tennessee is just the latest domestic attack against military personnel during Obama’s tenure.

In 2009, Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 soldiers. Then in 2013, military contractor Aaron Alexis attacked Washington’s Navy Yard, killing 12 people.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a statement condemned the “cowardly attack” against the service members. 

“I’m deeply saddened by this loss of life, and on behalf of the whole House, offer condolences to the families who lost loved ones today,” Boehner said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them, the people of Tennessee, and all of our troops.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) struck a somber tone while commenting on the events in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.

“I am deeply disturbed by reports of a violent attack in Chattanooga,” Alexander said. “My thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) echoed those sentiments in his own remarks.

“I am heartbroken by the tragic shootings that have taken place in my hometown,” Corker said. “This is a difficult day for Tennesseans and our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this tragedy.”

Corker served as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001 to 2005.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) bemoaned the loss of the four U.S. military personnel.

“I am deeply saddened and troubled by the loss of four United States Marines in today’s attack on a recruiting station in Chattanooga,” said Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

“Our Marines don’t flinch when they take on our enemies abroad,” he said. “It is heartbreaking when they are attacked here at home.”

Last updated at 6 p.m.

Tags Bob Corker Boehner John Boehner Lamar Alexander
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