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Chattanooga shooting: 4 Marines killed; dead suspect identified in Tennessee

CNN News Wire | 7/16/2015, noon
Four people were killed and three were wounded in shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday
Chattanooga Shooting

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, the 24-year-old accused of opening fire Thursday at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was born in Kuwait and had Jordanian citizenship, two law enforcement officials said. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen, one official said. Abdulazeez studied at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, a local law enforcement official said. A family member's Facebook page said he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 2012.

[Previous story, posted at 6:37 p.m. ET Thursday]

Four Marines were killed Thursday when a gunman attacked two military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The suspected shooter, 24-year-old Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, is also dead, the FBI said.

"I have directed the FBI to take the lead in the national security investigation of this heinous attack on members of our military," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, calling the shooting "a shameful and cowardly act of violence."

A terrorism task force involving federal and local agencies 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.

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.

"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."

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, officials said, including a police officer and a military service member.

The officer, who was injured when he was shot in the ankle, has been treated at the hospital, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said. A military service member was also among the wounded, the Defense Department said.

What was security situation?

"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.

The shootings raised questions about the security at the military centers. Authorities haven't released details yet about where at the centers the victims were killed 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."