At least 5 dead, 3 injured in shootings at 2 Tenn. military recruiting centers
The active shooter situation is over, the Chattanooga Police Department tweeted. The shooter and four other people are dead, Mayor Andy Berke told reporters during an afternoon press conference.
The four victims were Marines, the US Marine Corps confirmed on Twitter.
The gunman has been identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, a naturalized US citizen from Kuwait who lived in Hixson, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012 with a degree in engineering, the Times Free Press reported.
The first shooting occurred at an Army recruiting center in Chattanooga, where a police officer was shot and injured. The second was at a Navy recruiting center near the Tennessee RiverPark, about five miles away.
At 10:40 a.m. local time, a man was reported to have fired an assault weapon in the vicinity of the Army National Guard center on Lee Highway, according to the Times Free Press.
All of the victims who were killed were at the second shooting location, the Naval Reserve center, the FBI special agent in charge said. The gunman also died at that location.
The FBI is now in charge of the investigation, and the incident is being treated as “an act of domestic terrorism,” US Attorney Bill Killian said.
According to the FBI, Abdulazeez first started firing from inside a car. No other individuals are in custody.
An eyewitness heard gunshots and saw a man in a silver Ford Mustang convertible speed off, he told WTVC’s Alyssa Spirato. The witness saw a man had been struck in the leg by a bullet.
The suspect had multiple weapons, the FBI said. The families of the victims have not been notified yet.
The injured police officer, identified as Dennis Pedigo, was shot in the ankle and taken to Erlanger Hospital, which has been placed on lockdown. He is listed as being in stable condition.
Other locations on lockdown include Chattanooga State Community College, Memorial hospital and Lee University. Elsewhere in the state, the governor’s residence has been locked down, while there is increased security at the state capitol building in Nashville.
The Department of Homeland Security told WRCB that it has activated its Chattanooga Strike Team. Two DHS helicopters are en route, while other strike teams are on standby. The federal government is also sending troopers to high-traffic driver’s license centers statewide.
Hamilton County officials requested that the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency ask the Federal Aviation Administration to "put in a temporary flight restriction four miles" in each direction of site, TEMA spokesman Dean Flener told the Times Free Press.
The no-fly zone may affect flights out of Chattanooga Airport, WTVC reported.
"This is a very, very terrible situation," Berke told reporters earlier at City Hall, cutting off a press conference. "I'm very concerned about what's going on. We need to figure out how to handle it."
Initial reports of a shooting at Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland, a suburb of Chattanooga, turned out to be false. The mall was placed on lockdown so police could sweep the area.