1 shooter, 3 crime scenes, 7 victims: Chattanooga assesses attacks

Law enforcement remained on the scene Thursday after after a gunman's attack on a military career center in Chattanooga. Witnesses described the shocking assault. July 16, 2015

(WBIR - CHATTANOOGA) - "It's been a long day for our city," Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said at a late-night press conference, more than 12 hours after a gunman opened fire on two military facilities in the city, killing four Marines and injuring three other people.

The FBI continues to process evidence at three separate crime scenes in the city, but they are no closer to determining a motive. FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold did say there was nothing yet tying suspected shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez to a known terrorist organization, but he emphasized it's still very early in the investigation.

The FBI is closely examining Abdulazeez's life, his friends, his family, and his recent actions. An autopsy will be performed on his body over the weekend.

There is also no evidence that Abdulazeez was working with or conspired with anyone in the shooting.

The Chattanooga officer shot Thursday has been identified as Dennis Pedigo. He suffered a gunshot wound to the foot and was recovering at a Chattanooga Hospital.

As for four Marines who were killed, the FBI will not release those names. It will be up to the Department of Defense to identify them, and their families have been notified, according to authorities.

The four service members were the focus for many Thursday night, along with the others who were injured in the shooting.

"It's a shock what happened, in a great city," said Sen. Bob Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor.

He and Gov. Bill Haslam praised Chattanooga police and other local first responders for their heroic actions during the shooting. They said their bravery saved many other lives.

Another press conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday. The FBI asks if anyone has any information to call 865-602-7582.

Original story

(WBIR-Chattanooga) Four Marines were killed during what's being called a "brutal and brazen attack" at a Naval recruiting station Thursday morning in Chattanooga.

A Chattanooga police officer responding to the shooting was shot in the ankle and is in stable condition at Erlanger Medical Center. He was identified as veteran officer Dennis Pedigo. His family is reportedly with him at the hospital.

NBC News quoted a defense official as saying a Navy sailor was also shot multiple times and was "critically injured."

The shooter was also killed, though authorities will not say how he died. A Senior Federal Official confirmed to NBC NEWS that the suspect was Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kuwait. He is from Hixson, which is just a few miles across the river from Chattanooga.

More: NBC: Chattanooga shooter identified

Three others were injured in the shooting.

The gunman, identified by witnesses as a white male driving a silver Mustang convertible, first opened fire at an Armed Forces Career Center at a strip mall on Lee Highway around 10:45 a.m. A U.S. military official said the gunman fired 25 to 30 rounds at the building.

Witnesses heard a "pop pop" of gunfire and saw a gunman speeding off in the sports car. Police later found numerous shell casings in the parking lot.

Local authorities responded, and pursued the shooter to the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) on Amnicola Highway, about six miles away, exchanging gunfire.

According to FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold, the four Marines who were killed were shot at the second location. Their names have not been released.

The NOSC is used by Navy and Marine Corps personnel, and is often referred to as a "reserve center." The NOSC Chattanooga mission is to provide training and readiness support for our reserve component personnel to enable them to support the needs of the Navy and Marine Corps team.

Agent Reinhold said the incident was over in half an hour.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian called the shooting an "act of domestic terrorism" and pledged the resources of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security for the investigation.

Agent Reinhold said it is too early in the investigation to establish a motive, but they can not rule out that it was an act of domestic terrorism.

The gunman was believed to be from or living in the area, and authorities were not aware if he had a military background. They said he did not work at either facility. He had multiple weapons and was not wearing body armor.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke called it a "nightmare for the city" and called the act a "vicious attack on the people who proudly serve our country."

"Today, the Navy and Marine Corps team collectively mourn the loss of four heroes," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "The tragedy in Chattanooga is both devastating and senseless."

"We've had a tragedy unfold in Chattanooga today," said Gov. Bill Haslam. "I know Tennesseans join me in being sickened and saddened."

The governor said he was notified of the shooting about 20 minutes after it happened, and it was still an active shooter situation at the time. He said he has been in meetings all day, but was aware of increased security around Nashville after the shooting.

He said they are already talking about going to Chattanooga, but he wants to make sure he can be of help, and doesn't want to get in the way. He said he planned to call Mayor Berke later in the day.

Multiple local, state, and federal authorities are involved in the investigation.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, who served as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001-2005, released this statement: "I am heartbroken by the tragic shootings that have taken place today in my hometown," said Corker. "We have been in touch with federal, state and local officials and continue to monitor developments and have offered our assistance. This is a difficult day for Tennesseans and our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this tragedy."

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander also released a statement, "I am deeply disturbed by reports of a violent attack in Chattanooga. I have been in touch with federal, state and local officials, and will monitor the situation closely. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved."

Previous story

NBC News is reporting that five people have been shot, including one Chattanooga police officer and perhaps four marines. A police officer told WRCB that the officer was in stable condition. We do not have any word on the other possible victims.

There are reports that this is no longer an active shooting situation and that the shooter may have been killed.

We are awaiting a press conference, which was scheduled for 2 p.m., for the latest information.

The location is near the River Park, and much of that area is blocked off.

The mayor left a news conference early when he received the news of the shooting.

Chattanooga State's campus, which is nearby, has been locked down as a safety precaution.

Erlanger Medical Center is also locked down.

There is an increased police presence at military recruiting stations in Knoxville and several other counties, as a precaution.

The Department of Homeland Security has activated their Chattanooga Strike Team, other district strike teams have been put on standby.

Tennesse Gov. Bill Haslam's residence has been shutdoen temporarily, and additional security is in place at the Tennessee Capitol. Additional THP troopers are in place around the complex.

Roads around both areas are closed to traffic as the investigation continues.

Word of a shooting at Bradley Square has been debunked. Police are still on hand as they continue to investigate.

The FBI and ATF are said to be enroute to the scene to aid in the investigation.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, who served as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001-2005, released this statement: "I am heartbroken by the tragic shootings that have taken place today in my hometown," said Corker. "We have been in touch with federal, state and local officials and continue to monitor developments and have offered our assistance. This is a difficult day for Tennesseans and our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this tragedy."

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander also released a statement, "I am deeply disturbed by reports of a violent attack in Chattanooga. I have been in touch with federal, state and local officials, and will monitor the situation closely. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved."

WRCBTV.com continues to contribute to this story.


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