A widening plot? “LIVE UPDATES: FBI raids shooting suspect’s house, two women led out in handcuffs,” Times Free Press, July 16, 2015:
The FBI is investigating two brazen attacks on military facilities in Chattanooga in which four Marines were killed, leading to lockdowns at the Army Recruiting Center on Lee highway as well as the Naval and Marine Reserve Center at the Chattanooga Riverpark, as well as local hospitals.
The attacks, which were mere minutes apart, began when a single shooter, identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, drove a silver Ford Mustang convertible to a Lee Highway recruiting center at 10:45 a.m and fired more than a dozen rounds into the building. After his initial barrage, he led responding police officers on a high-speed chase down Amnicola Highway to a second military installation, where he opened fire again and was killed after a gun battle that one witness estimated lasted 20 minutes.
Three victims were rushed to Erlanger’s Trauma Center, including a Chattanooga police officer and two members of the military. One of those patients was discharged from Erlanger this afternoon; the other two are still being treated. Including the victim, the violence claimed five lives, with three more wounded.
Officials have said the shooter died during the attack, though they did not say how he died. During the attack on Amnicola Highway, numerous Chattanooga and Hamilton County officers “actively and enthusiastically” engaged the suspect, said Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher.
The motive behind the attack, which the FBI said came without warning, is still under investigation. A U.S. official said there was no indication Abdulazeez was on the radar of federal law enforcement before the shootings, according to the Associated Press….
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said during a press conference that he would classify the violence as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
Witnesses at both the Amnicola and Lee Highway sites reported hearing multiple gunshots in each case, with the installation at Amnicola Highway seeing the bulk of the violence. Shortly after the shooting, blue markers littered the ground outside the recruiting station on Lee Highway where shots were fired, and police completely blocked off Amnicola Highway to traffic.
A photo taken after the attack from a helicopter and posted on Twitter showed the shooter’s Ford Mustang with doors opened, parked next to a bent gate that was positioned in such a way that it appeared to have been rammed by his vehicle.
A sign on the outside of the Lee Highway location had a “no guns allowed” sign posted. During the news conference, the FBI confirmed that guns were generally prohibited at federal facilities.
Carolyn Taylor, who works at Binswanger Glass across Amnicola Highway from the incident site, said she heard what sounded like over 100 gunshots….
Abdulazeez was believed to have been born in Kuwait, and it was unclear whether he was a U.S. or Kuwaiti citizen. It was not immediately clear whether the gunman’s first name was spelled Muhammad or Mohammad.
Abdulazeez is from Hixson, Tennessee, which is just a few miles across the river from Chattanooga. He was booked for a DUI in April 2015. A man named Youssuf Abdulazeez attended UTC, spokesman Chuck Cantrell said, and graduated in 2012 with a degree in engineering.
Abdulazeez was a student intern for TVA five years ago while he was at UTC. He did not work at either of the facilities he attacked, according to the FBI.
He wrestled in high school and became an MMA fighter afterward, according to Ryan Smith, who was a year behind Abdulazeez at Red Bank High School. Abdulazeez’s family was very religious, Smith said. The women in Abdulazeez’s family wore traditional Islam head coverings, Smith said.
A reporter saw a SWAT team and FBI agents staging at a strip mall in Hixson near the shooter’s house. The house, which Hamilton County records is owned by Youssuf S. Abdulazeez, is appraised at $206,100 by the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. Police in Hixson kicked a reporter out of the neighborhood that contained a house apparently owned by Abdulazeez. However, the Associated Press reported that two women were led out in handcuffs.
Abdulazeez allegedly killed four Marines and shot one police officer in the attack at Amnicola Highway. A soldier and a police officer were wounded in the attack, according to the Associated Press. Dennis Pedigo, a Chattanooga police officer, is in stable condition.
Abdulazeez’s father, Youssuf Abdullazeez, was appointed as a “special policeman” for Chattanooga’s Department of Public Works in March 2005. …