Five people were killed yesterday including a suspected gunman who opened fire at two military-related facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in an attack officials described as an act of terrorism.
“We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism,” said Bill Killian, an attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The gunman was named as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti national who lived in Hixson, a few miles from Chattanooga.
Reports said the gunman, driving an open-top Ford Mustang, fired at two locations, a military recruiting centre and a US Navy Reserve centre about 10km apart. Witnesses said they heard scores of shots.
A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama had been told about the shooting.
“The President has been briefed by his national security staff on the Chattanooga shooting, and will continue to get updates as warranted,” said spokesman Eric Schultz.
Lockdowns had been put in place at businesses, a college, and other facilities near the shooting sites.
A witness at a glass company near the Navy centre said the shooting there starting at about 11am local time. “We have heard multiple shots fired,” said Marilyn Hutcheson of Binswanger Glass.
Near the recruiting centre, a witness said the gunman appeared to be calm. “Everybody was at a standstill and as soon as he pulled away everyone scrabbled trying to make sure everyone was OK,” said Erica Wright, who works two doors down from the centre.
A photograph of the centre showed its entrance riddled with bullet holes.
A Marine was wounded at the recruiting centre, a military official said.
The shooting did not injure any Army recruiters, nor did any bullets penetrate the Army area of the recruiting centre, said Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the US Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Federal authorities were on the scene and the Tennessee Highway Patrol aided local law enforcement.
The city along the Tennessee River is in the southeastern section of the state. More than 173,000 people live in the city.
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