الخميس , مايو 20 2021

Four Marines killed in US shooting

A Tennessee police officer on patrol on the Amnicola Highway after a shooting near the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga - 16 July 2015

Police were deployed on the Amnicola Highway near the US Navy reserve centre in Chattanooga

Four US Marines have been killed after shootings at two US Navy buildings in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The local district lawyer said the two incidents were being investigated as an “act of domestic terrorism”.

Chattanooga city police said it was the same gunman at both locations and confirmed he had been killed.

The gunman was identified as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez by an unnamed official, according to the AP news agency.

He is believed to have been born in Kuwait, but it is unclear whether he was a US or Kuwaiti citizen.

Reports said armed police have been deployed to the house where he lived, a few miles outside Chattanooga in Hixson, and neighbours were being evacuated.

FBI agent Ed Reinhold, who is leading the investigation, said the first shooting occurred at about 10:45 local time (14:45 GMT) at a US Navy recruitment centre in the east of the city.

After opening fire on the building, the gunman then fled the scene in a Ford Mustang and was pursued by Chattanooga police, Mr Reinhold told reporters.

He was shot dead after a gunfight at a US Navy reserve centre about seven miles (10 km) away on Amnicola Highway.

‘Horrific incident’

The US Marines confirmed in a statement that there were “four Marine fatalities” at the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Centre in Chattanooga.

They said one Marine Corps recruiter was wounded but was later released from hospital. Two other people are believed to have been treated for injuries.


Photographs from the US Navy recruitment centre showed bullet holes in the windows

“This is a sad day for the United States. These service members served their country with pride,” Bill Kilden, the federal prosecutor for eastern Tennessee, said.

“We are investigating this as an act of domestic terrorism,” he told reporters.

But other officials expressed caution at jumping to conclusions.

“We are looking at every possible avenue – whether it was terrorism, whether it was domestic, international or whether it was a simple criminal act,” Mr Reinhold said.

City Mayor Andy Berke tweeted: “Horrific incident in our community.”

“Our hearts are broken for the families of the four Marines killed in today’s terrible act of violence. They are in our prayers,” he added.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the gunman firing from inside a car outside the recruitment centre.

Gina Mule, who works at a local restaurant, told CNN she heard “really loud noises” and saw a man with a “high-powered rifle”.

“A lot of shots were fired,” she added.

The White House said President Barack Obama has been briefed on the incident.

A statement from the US Department of Homeland Security said it was “enhancing the security posture at certain federal facilities, out of an abundance of caution”.

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