On Thursday a man driving a rented silver Ford Mustang convertible pulled up to a military recruitment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., and fired several shots. He then drove some seven miles to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center and opened fire again, this time killing four Marines. Three people, including a police officer, were also injured in the attack that U.S. Attorney Bill Killian called an "act of domestic terrorism."
According to CNN, the lone gunman has been identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, who was reportedly armed with an AK-47 and was carrying 30-round magazines when he opened fire. Abdulazeez was pronounced dead on the scene. It is still unclear whether Abdulazeez killed himself or was fatally shot during the standoff with police.
"Today was a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga," Mayor Andy Berke said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Authorities are still searching for a motive for the shootings, which began at 10:30 a.m. Because of the massive amount of ammunition Abdulazeez fired, he kept police at bay for almost 30 minutes.
According to an FBI representative, finding out the motive will be essential in determining whether to classify the shooting as an act of terrorism.
The FBI noted that they "have not determined whether it was an act of terrorism or whether it was a criminal act," Ed Reinhold, FBI special agent in charge, told reporters. "We are looking at every possible avenue, whether it was terrorism—whether it was domestic, international—or whether it was a simple, criminal act."
According to several reports, Abdulazeez pulled up in front the Lee Highway Armed Forces Career Center, which is located outside a mall, and began spraying bullets into the door.
"It was a regular day. I mean, he just pulled up. I didn’t think anything of it,” witness Laneesha Lewis told WSMV. "He had his drop-top and he looked to the side. And the next thing we know, he lifted up his arms like this and a big black gun. And … it was one shot, and then it was endless shots, one after another. Just unloading."
According to the Huffington Post, officials have confirmed that Abdulazeez "was a naturalized U.S. citizen and was born in Kuwait. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2012 with a degree in electrical engineering, and had been active in sports during high school. Police reportedly arrested Abdulazeez for a DUI in April in Chattanooga. He was not on federal law enforcement's radar prior to the shooting, according to a U.S. official."
Officials also noted that Abdulazeez most likely acted alone. The names of victims, including the four Marines who were killed, have not been released, according to HuffPost.
"It is incomprehensible to see what happened and the way that individuals who proudly serve our country were treated," Berke said at the press conference Thursday. "As a city, we will respond to this with every available resource we have."