Chattanooga Shooter Methodically Moved Through Naval Reserve Center
US: A 24-year-old gunman armed with a semiautomatic assault rifle and a handgun moved methodically through a Naval Reserve center last week in Chattanooga, Tenn., as he hunted for Marines and sailors to kill, a senior FBI official said Wednesday. Edward Reinhold, special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Knoxville, Tenn., provided the first definitive account of the terrorist attack that left four Marines and a Navy petty officer dead. Reinhold told reporters at a news conference in Chattanooga that Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez smashed through the gate of the reserve center last Thursday and was almost immediately confronted by a service member who had his own gun. The service member fired several rounds, but it has not yet been determined whether he managed to hit Abdulazeez, who quickly entered the reserve center looking for targets, mortally wounding the sailor inside the building. Reinhold said Abdulazeez exited the back of the building, killing the Marines outside in the motor-pool area as some of them tried to climb over a fence and escape. The FBI said that moments later, officers with the Chattanooga Police Department arrived and killed Abdulazeez, ending an episode that lasted between three and five minutes at the reserve center. A top general said the Marines, who had just returned from a training mission, had braved gunfire to save their comrades during the attack. Killed Thursday in the assault were Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, 40, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, 35, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, 25, and Lance Cpl. Squire K. “Skip” Wells, 21. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26, the fifth service member killed in the attack, died from his wounds early Saturday. Before entering the Navy Operational Support Center, Abdulazeez, while still in a rented Ford Mustang convertible, fired dozens of rounds into a recruiting office less than 10 miles away. Five Marines inside the reserve center fled through the rear of the building. One was wounded. Reinhold said that two other weapons were recovered at the reserve center and that both belonged to service members, including the one fired at Abdulazeez. Another handgun was found near one of the fallen Marines. “Whether he was struck by those individuals is unclear at this time,” he said. “The autopsy results are pending, and once we get those we’ll make that determination.” The military is also investigating why the service members were armed, the FBI said. The Pentagon restricts who can carry weapons at domestic military facilities. It appeared that all of the victims were killed with the same weapon, ruling out “friendly fire,” according to Reinhold. In addition to the weapons Abdulazeez had on him when he was killed, the FBI discovered a shotgun in his car and another semiautomatic assault rifle in his house. The FBI is still investigating whether Abdulazeez had any ties to terrorists and what led to the attack.