Four U.S. military personnel were killed in shootings Thursday at two military facilities in the southern state of Tennessee.
Officials said the gunman who opened fire at the two facilities was also killed in the incident. Several other people were injured, including a police officer.
Authorities said the gunman opened fire at a military recruiting center at a shopping mall in Chattanooga where five branches of the military all have adjoining offices.
A gunshot rang out around 10:30 or 10:45 a.m., said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dodge, 36, the leader for U.S. Army recruiting at the center.
«Shortly after that, just a few seconds, the shooter began shooting more rounds,» he said.
He and his colleagues then got on the ground and barricaded themselves in a safe place. Dodge estimated there were 30 to 50 shots fired.
He did not see the shooter or a vehicle. The Army recruiting office was not damaged, but doors and glass were damaged at the neighboring Air Force, Navy and Marine offices, he said.
The gunman next drove to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center about seven miles away in a car described by witnesses as an open-topped Mustang. He unleashed what witnesses said was a barrage of gunfire.
The center sits in a light industrial area. The two entrances to the fenced facility have unmanned gates and concrete barriers that require approaching cars to slow down to drive around them.
When the gunfire stopped, the shooter was found dead. Officials would not say if he was shot dead or took his own life.
The Marine Corps confirmed that four Marines at the Navy/Marine Reserve center were killed. Names were withheld pending notification of relatives.
Marine officials also confirmed that a Marine recruiter suffered a leg wound while working at the Chattanooga recruiting office, was treated at a local hospital and was released.
«We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism,» Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, said, though FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said authorities were still investigating a motive.
CBS news cited two law enforcement sources as saying the shooter had been identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez.
«Today was a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga,» Mayor Andy Berke said. «As a city, we will respond to this with every available resource that we have.»
«Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country, and I think I join all Tennesseans in being both sickened and saddened by this,» Gov. Bill Haslam said.
A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting and would continue to get updates.