Chattanooga shootings: Police killed suspected gunman, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez

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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee — Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez was carrying 30-round magazines when he opened fire, according to a source briefed by law enforcement. Abdulazeez kept police at bay for some time with the amount of ammunition he had, according to the source.

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez

Suspected shooter Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, is dead, the FBI said. But — publicly, at least — investigators haven’t said much more about him.

Witnesses saw Abdulazeez spray a hail of bullets at the glass doors of a military recruiting center in a strip mall. Then the gunman, who according to a law enforcement official was driving in a rented silver Ford Mustang convertible, moved on to his next target more than seven miles away: a Naval reserve center. There, he rammed into a gate at some point during his shooting rampage and was eventually killed by police, a U.S. official said.

Now, with the FBI in the lead, a terrorism task force is investigating, a law enforcement source said.

Authorities “have not determined whether it was an act of terrorism or whether it was a criminal act,” Ed Reinhold, FBI special agent in charge, told reporters. “We are looking at every possible avenue, whether it was terrorism — whether it was domestic, international — or whether it was a simple, criminal act.”

A key detail will help them make that determination: finding out the suspect’s motive.

Who was the suspect?

In the neighborhood where Abdulazeez is believed to have lived, police cars and an ambulance were on the streets. Residents were blocked from reaching their homes. A woman was escorted in handcuffs from the area, but it was unclear whether she was connected to the alleged gunman.

“We will treat this as a terrorism investigation until it can be determined that it is not,” Reinhold said. U.S. Attorney Bill Killian earlier told reporters that authorities were treating the shooting as an “act of domestic terrorism.”

Authorities have released few details about the alleged gunman, but some details have begun to emerge about his past.

Abdulazeez was not in any U.S. databases of suspected terrorists, a U.S. official said. He was born in Kuwait and had Jordanian citizenship, two law enforcement officials said. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen, one official said.

Neighbor Dean McDaniel said he’d known the family for most of his 17 years living in the Chattanooga suburb of Hixson, Tennessee. He first crossed paths with Mohammad Abdulazeez when he was an elementary school student, and later would see him from time to time when he visited his sisters while they were baby-sitting McDaniel’s children.

“He was a good kid. … They’re good people,” he said. “I’ve never had any kind of conflict with them.”

He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012 with a degree in electrical engineering, university spokesman Chuck Cantrell said.

Kevin Emily, his former high school wrestling coach, described him as “a great student” who sometimes missed practice to pray.

“He always contributed, always did what I asked him to do. I never had any problems out of Mohammad,” Emily told CNN’s “Erin Burnett: Outfront.” “He was very humble when he was in high school. He’d always listen to me, looked me in the eye. He was just — in high school he was a great kid.”

A quote appeared beside his photos in his high school yearbook: “My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”

For years, Samantha Barnette sat next to him in class, but now she said she feels like she never really knew him.

“He was also incredibly intelligent, which really makes me wonder about his true motives for doing this,” said Barnette, who posted a photo of the yearbook page on Facebook. “He was always getting recognized for his high grades and getting awards all throughout school. It’s upsetting to see him waste it all.”

Injured sailor in ‘serious condition’

The shootings unfolded at two sites over 30 minutes, Reinhold said.

The suspected gunman started spraying bullets at the glass doors of a strip mall military recruiting center around 10:45 a.m. ET, witnesses said. From there, he headed to another location more than seven miles away, an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy. That’s where the four victims and the gunman were killed, Reinhold said.

At least three people were injured: a police officer, a Marine Corps recruiter and a sailor.

The police officer, who was injured when he was shot in the ankle, was treated at the hospital, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said. Officer Dennis Pedigo was one of the first responders on the scene, a law enforcement source close to the investigation said.

The recruiter, who was wounded in the leg, was treated and released from the hospital, the U.S. Marines said.

A female sailor who was shot is in surgery and in “pretty serious condition,” a Pentagon official told CNN’s Barbara Starr.

What was security situation?

The shooting left the city reeling and raised questions about the security at the military centers.

“Today was a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga. … We had someone viciously attack, at two different locations, people who proudly serve our country,” Berke said.

Authorities haven’t released details yet about where at the centers the victims were shot or how the gunman gained access.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the FBI director had briefed him on the shootings.

“We take all shootings very seriously. Obviously when you have an attack on a U.S. military facility, then we have to make sure that we have all the information necessary to make an assessment in terms of how this attack took place and what further precautions we can take in the future,” he said, vowing that the investigation would be “thorough and prompt.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said authorities were stepping up security at “certain federal facilities, out of an abundance of caution” after the shootings.

‘It was very loud and very fast’

April Grimmett said she was working at a hair salon near the recruiting center when she looked out a window and saw a man ducking in between cars.

“Shortly after that, we heard the (shots). It was very loud and very fast,” she said.

A photo that she took shows glass doors damaged by the gunfire.

“I could not believe how many bullet holes were in that door. It was insane,” she said.

Gina Mule, a server at a restaurant, said she saw a man who’d been in a silver convertible Mustang, firing a “high-powered rifle” at the recruiting offices at about 10:50 a.m.

She said she first heard “Pow, pow, pow!” She then went to a window, through which she said she saw the man firing shots.

“He never got out of the car,” she said. “He had a big, huge, high-powered rifle, and he was unloading shots right into the recruiters.”

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has issued this statement:

“It is with a heavy heart that I learned of today’s tragic events in Chattanooga. My thoughts and prayers – along with those of the men and women of the Department of Defense – are with the families of those killed in this senseless act of violence and with all those touched by this tragedy, including our Navy and Marine Corps family. I am grateful to local law enforcement for their swift response. The department will continue to work with local law enforcement as they investigate this heinous crime and will support our military families in their time of grief.”

The FBI has issued this statement:

“The FBI’s Knoxville Field Office, along with the Chattanooga Police Department and other law enforcement partners, are working jointly to investigate today’s shootings at a military recruitment center and a reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee in which four individuals were killed and three injured. The shooter, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, is also deceased. While it would be premature to speculate on the motives of the shooter at this time, we will conduct a thorough investigation of this tragedy and provide updates as they are available.”

Data pix.
Google Map for coordinates 35.045630 by -85.309680.

54 comments

  • Hillsboro Oregon

    “High powered rifle”?
    Can you explain what that is?
    “Endless string of shots”
    “Couldnt believe how many bullet holes were in the window”
    This sure seems like a slanted opinion of an anti gun bigot who they interviewed. Sure seems like a false flag attack, yet again trying to ban firearms.. Especially with no “victims”.. A true shame if its genuine. However.. Ill wait for security camera footage

  • me

    Shooter was in a silver convertible mustang….must now ban all silver convertible mustangs as that is surely the reason the shooter was able to accomplish this. Just saying…banning the confederate flag is going to solve all race related shootings so if we ban silver convertible mustangs this kind of stuff will stop too….just applying the same logic here as those who blamed the confederate flag for the SC shooting. Hopefully no one was hurt and the shooter is captured.

    • Fred

      I’ll bet this never would have happened if Chattanooga had it’s own trolley! This guy would have had no need to be in a silver drop top Mustang.

  • Bryan Eddy

    THIS LINK WAS DATED JULY 15 which was WEDNESDAY IT WAS UPDATED TODAY AFTER 11am,and MOST LIKELY TOO SOON AS CNN was on the story HOURS .on my browser I searched and it shows JULY 15th.

    • Lee

      The really scary thing here is that any military facility wether US Government owned or rented does not have adequate protection for its occupants, the recruiters should be armed to protect themselves from nut bags or at least discourage people from attacking them.Also keep in mind that there are many military depots that store arms and ammunition out there that have had their budgets cut resulting in reduced security and fire protection.
      A lot of the people who do these attacks are gutless so if there is any thought in their mind that the people they are attacking are not defenseless it may make them think twice, if not it at least it levels the field. The old bumper sticker that’s says when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have them seems to be forgotten.

  • Billy

    Another false flag hoax to steal guns from residents in TN so the gov can control them or get rid of the extreme overpopulation problem. Not enough natural resources to support all the excessive breeding. The gov is going to the church elders to tell all the christians to give up their guns to god because they know the poor lambs will give away their guns to the church, and the church will give all the guns to the gov to use against the innocent people. Just make up false flags and put all over the TellLieVision to fool the idiots in giving up their guns, then they will give up their freedom and be slaves to the gov

      • Big Talk Barack

        How many of them were Muslim or committed crimes based upon religion? McVeigh (Not McVeight) was seeking justice against the Feds. for Waco and Ruby Ridge (In no way endorsing him, but.. he even told them to evacuate the building before hand), the other two were on Psychotropic drugs. At this point, we can not point to psychotropic drugs being used by this Muslim.

      • Robert Combs

        Theresa, that is the typical, educated response of the typical educated idiot, making the exception prove the rule. And if you think McVeigh was responsible for Oklahoma City, I rest my case.

      • Theresa

        Ok, USMC, you are a bigot. Got it.

        Big talk… I already asked forgiveness for my typos, so thanks for the condescending correction on McVeigh’s name.
        And regardless of their reasons or what drugs they were on, the acts invoked terror.

        Robert… And thank you for the backhanded insult. You can think I am an idiot all you want. Tell us then, oh wise one, who was responsible for that bombing?

        You people are so arrogant.

      • Aries144

        “Terrorist” and “terror attack” need to be better defined, as they frequently misused. They don’t refer to attacks which cause people to feel “terror,” as that definition could include any sort of attack or violent event. A “terror” attack is one designed to help accomplish political goals by causing the targeted populace to lose so much faith in its government that it would rather capitulate to and instate the “terrorists” than continue to support a seemingly impotent government and be attacked.

        By definition, Timothy McVeight, James Holmes, and Dlyann Roof were not terrorists. They were individuals who planned and carried out attacks born of anger and in Holmes’ case, insanity and/or psychopathy.

      • Theresa

        Aries… I appreciate your non-condescending explanation.

        Copied from FBI:
        “Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

        Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

        Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and

        Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

        I see your point.

        So… since we don’t know the motive of this attack yet, it may not be considered terrorism. There may have not been any links between Roof’s actions and all the Black churches burned afterwards, but I can tell you that many folks felt terrified.

        My point, which I thought would be obvious, is that not ALL terrorists are Muslim. RIRA and LRA to name two grou

      • Libsareliars

        Theresa you don’t know what his motive was??? Are you ignorant or just plain stupid??? A Muslim targeting military personal should give you the answer right there.
        Please get your head out of the sand and discover reality!!!

      • Aries144

        It would certainly be fair, and in the best tradition of American legal principle, to avoid accusing this attacker of “terrorism” until evidence proves that it the case. I think it is important to remember that strongly orthodox Islamic groups consider themselves to be at war with the US and other Western nations, are calling for ‘all good Muslims’ to attack US citizens and specifically military personnel and their families, and are making strong recruitment efforts through the internet and in Muslim communities in Western nations.

        This individual’s actions and background certainly do fit the MO. Should he prove to have acted with this motivation, that would qualify as an act of genuine terrorism. I think we’d both agree that a person should be free of the assumption of guilt when no crime has been committed or when it is uncertain he committed a crime. After found to have committed a crime, his motivation should be a matter of discovery, and in this case, an evaluation of ongoing threat should be part of the process.

        To help understand the context of some of my less eloquent fellows’ feelings, there is a growing feeling among those who cling to the classically liberal, individualistic American Dream, that the advocates of a Planned Society are currently playing a political game that involves:

        1. A pointed, and bewildering (to us) refusal to acknowledge attacks made by radicalized Muslim groups as being politically motivated or in any way related to their religion (i.e. an attack by a Muslim man who beheaded fellow office workers and had known ties to extremist groups is labeled “workplace violence,” Nidal Hassan’s attack, after becoming radicalized through the internet, on the Texas military base where he had worked was officially labeled “workplace violence,” etc)
        and
        2. Targeting of government organizations, some of which would previously have been outwardly focused at the previous Muslim terrorist groups, inward at right-leaning groups and individuals in what strongly appears to be a form of political persecution (i.e. a white man plans and commits an attack and is labeled a “domestic terrorist.” Doubt is cast as to whether right-leaning political groups might be sympathetic to his actions, Tea Party groups are subject to unusual scrutiny from the IRS, prominent Tea Party members inexplicably find themselves on terrorist no-fly lists, etc)

        There is fear, and I don’t think it’s entirely unfounded, that some currently in power, driven by honest zeal to accomplish what they believe are lofty goals, may feel justified in using the power of their offices to persecute political opponents and stave off anything that might slow transformational plans.

        There is also anger, some of it justified I think, from veterans who’ve witnessed (what we consider) atrocities committed while fighting wars in countries with Muslim cultures. Islamic and our Germanic, Judeo-Christian-heavy culture clash quite severely on many moral/world view issues. To us, there is no way to find, for instance, slowly cutting off a person’s head while they’re alive screaming and twitching, raping captured women, blowing up infants of enemies, etc in any way ever acceptable in the mainstream of society. In purely orthodox Muslim culture, all those things are appropriate in the right circumstances and even required duties in some circumstances. That’s ok, we’re different, and it’s ok to find someone else’s different behavior disgusting, to say so, and even to societally ostracize practitioners of that behavior, short of legal or physical persecution. They need their own space to live according to their wants and culture and we need ours. National borders, different political systems, and different cultures, allow people with views or lifestyles abhorrent to one group to find a place to live in peace and pursuit of happiness with another. They make the world a vibrant and interesting place to travel as well! :)

        Agreed that ultra orthodox Muslim groups are NOT the only groups that attempt to use terrorism to accomplish political aims, but they are certainly by far the largest threat to civilians in Western nations.

      • Theresa

        Liar, go to bed now, the adults are conversing.

        Thanks again Aries for your intellectual honesty… Much to think about.

      • Libsareliars

        Liar, go to bed now?
        Yeah you certainly are acting your age.
        Keep your head in the sand Theresa or better yet go play in the sand.

      • Libsareliars

        First off Aries I do not need a full page explanation from you on the terrorists. We are talking about this evil dude that killed 4 marines and injured several others.
        The guy was born in Kuwait and raised in Jordan before coming to this country. His father was supposedly on the FBI watch list for a while.
        The guy also posted stuff in Islamic that makes your head spin. I realize they need to investigate him further but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the motives if this piece of garbage.
        By the way Theresa since you have no clue what you are talking about, go and make a sand castle while the adults post here.

  • smh

    Too bad the shooter didn’t see that “no guns allowed” sign – all this could’ve been avoided.

  • Jimmi Hayden

    …And today, Two Things,…Ovomit told the U.N., It was time for individuals, who are incapable of managing their own lives anyway, too “Hand over their Rights to a Sovereign Power,..!” The release of 4 American Prisoners in Iran, was not part of the agenda that Iran was willing too Address,….But we Got ‘The Best Deal Possible’,…This POS FOOL, can not Reign for another year and a half,…”Lock and Load, Prepare Your Groups”

  • barton

    If this is true we must exterminate all muslimes
    If this a false flag we must prepare for a very long battle to get our country back,God bless the Marines we lost ,if there is any truth out there

  • chris

    Well it’s a good thing the federal government is making such a big deal over the Confederate flag because everyone knows that’s what causes hate (in the mind of the liberal). Let’s send aid, money and guns to the Muslims who have hated Christians for a 1000 years. What could possibly go wrong?

  • LIBERALFAIL

    Time for Potus to own this and start immediate bombing of islamic radical scumbags. The white house is quiet. We need a swift unproportional reaction to this threat against America. Where is the outrage!!! I demand answers from our inept leaders!!!!!!!!

  • irritable bowel syndrome

    It’s time Americans take back this country! That means cleaning house baby! Time to get down in the basement and mop up the scum and bleach the floors. Sick and tired of terrorist and illegal immigrants you don’t belong here get the heck out!

    • Smith

      It is sad to read these comments when we have families suffering…..not at Muslims or immigrants areally bad. Should we say that all Americans are bad…you are not perfect. Judging all for some is not fair. My heart is with those families.

  • A YOOPER

    It took many years of USA to fade into our mess. WWII., boys tried to get in. Korea, drafts and “I want to defend USA from communism. Vietnam, drafts & volunteers. Middle east mess, all volunteer military to fight off these crazies. Someday I hope to get the explanation of religion from said birthplace it. I am religious. My religion does not involve killing people.

  • Jerry Frey

    “Oh, Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war,” the voice says, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group. The voice also warns Muslims that they will be persecuted if they stay in the West, saying that if authorities monitor or question Muslims, “soon they will begin to displace them [Muslims] and take them away either dead, imprisoned or homeless.”

    http://napoleonlive.info/did-you-know/understanding-isis/

  • bb

    False flag after false flag. But we, the public is not that naive anymore. Watching quietly what this country is turning into but doesn’t mean we are buying into their lies. RIP the victim or victims.

  • Cpt(Ret). Olen Ridling USAR

    See what happens in gun free zones. We need to have our troops armed at all times to stop this from happening again, what would happened at Ft. Hood if those troops had have been armed. Before O’bummer can call this work place violence each and every one of those troops injured/killed need to be awarded the Purple Heart and from what I hear the Sailor deserves a Bronze Star. My deepest condolences to the families of those men, the Corp, and the U.S. Military.

  • Craig Baydor

    He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Lived here since five years old. Looks normal, until he is about to start his jihad.
    They say it starts at home. I hope the rest of the family is now on their radar as terrorists.

  • Liberal Fail

    Hang his family including the women for treason. Maybe they will get the message that we don’t f around anymore with their scum ideoligy.

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