A gunman fired on two military facilities in Tennessee on Thursday, killing at least four Marines and wounding a soldier and a police officer, officials said. The shooter also was killed. "Today was a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga," Mayor Andy Berke reflected.
US Attorney Bill Killian said officials were treating the attacks as an "act of domestic terrorism," though FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said authorities were still investigating a motive. The first shooting happened around 10:45 a.m. Berke said five people died in all, including the gunman. A police officer was shot in the ankle, and others were wounded, he said. US officials told The Associated Press four US Marines were among the dead.
Authorities work an active shooting scene on amincola highway near the Naval Reserve Center, in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Thursday, July 16, 2015
The shootings began at a recruiting center on Old Lee Highway in Chattanooga where five branches of the military all have adjoining offices. A gunshot rang out around 10:30, said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, 36, the center leader for US Army recruiting at the center. "Shortly after that, just a few seconds, the shooter began shooting more rounds. We realised it was an actual shooting," he said.
Dodge estimated there were 30 to 50 shots fired. He did not see the shooter or a vehicle. The Army recruiting office was not damaged, but doors and glass were damaged at the neighbouring Air Force, Navy and Marine offices, he said. Law enforcement officials told recruiters that the shooter was in a car, stopped in front of the facility, shot at the building and drove off, said Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the US Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Working nearby, Nicholas Donohue heard a blast of gunshots. He took shelter in a back room. "Even though it knew it was most likely gunfire I heard, you also don't want to believe it's happening in the moment," he said. "Since I didn't see anything, I couldn't be sure."
Within minutes of that attack, the shooter then opened fire at the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center Chattanooga, about 7 miles away. Reinhold said all of the dead were killed there.