Who Is Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, The Chattanooga Shooting Suspect Who Allegedly Killed Four People?
The alleged perpetrator behind the Chattanooga, Tennessee military shootings is Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, according to CNN. Youssef, 24, was shot after reportedly opening fire at two separate military sites Thursday morning. In the timespan of 30 minutes, four Marines were killed and at least three more individuals were injured. At this time, the motive is unclear, though the FBI is looking into whether the attacks were terror-related. According to U.S. Attorney Bill Killian, investigators are treating it as domestic terrorism.
Although Abdulazeez is a naturalized U.S. citizen, he is originally from Kuwait, according to NBC News. Reports state that the alleged gunman has lived in Phoenix, Arizona as well as Hixson, Tennessee, which is approximately eight miles from Chattanooga, and graduated from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2012. Authorities are not currently releasing a cause of death.
On Thursday morning, Abdulazeez reportedly opened fire at a military recruitment center located in a strip mall on Lee Highway. An eyewitness told CNN that the gunman pulled up in a silver Mustang. "He had a high-powered rifle and was just firing shots into the Air Force, Navy and Marines office,” Gina Mule said. “I don’t even know how many shots he fired, but it was a lot … After he got done opening fire, he pulled out really quick.”
The gunman then drove eight miles away, to a Navy support center on Amnicola Highway, and began shooting. It was at this location that four Marines were killed and at least three individuals were injured, including a police officer who was shot in the ankle, according to CNN. Authorities believe that Abdulazeez was the only shooter.
The first shooting reportedly began around 10:45 a.m., when authorities estimate that the gunman fired more than 30 rounds into the recruiting station. Within 30 minutes, he had moved to the second location and was killed. It is unclear whether Abdulazeez was killed by police or he shot himself.
According to The Washington Post, authorities have searched what is believed to be Abdulazeez's home, and two unidentified women were led away in handcuffs.
Later on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the nation, asking for prayers for the families of the four unidentified Marines, and vowing to "get to the bottom" of the attacks. He cited the Marines as part of, "probably the most incredible generation that this country has seen." President Obama later echoed Biden's statement and promised a quick and thorough investigation, calling the shooting a "heartbreaking circumstance."