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A 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born gunman opened fire on a military recruiting station on Thursday, then raced to a second military site where he killed four United States Marines, prompting a federal domestic terrorism investigation. Three other people, including a Marine Corps recruiter and a police officer, were wounded, according to law enforcement officials.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified the gunman, who also died Thursday, as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, who became a naturalized United States citizen and went to high school and college in Chattanooga. Although counterterrorism officials had not been investigating Mr. Abdulazeez before Thursday’s shooting, federal officials familiar with the inquiry said that his father had been investigated several years ago for giving money to an organization with possible ties to terrorists.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the F.B.I. was leading “a national security investigation,” and the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, William C. Killian, said federal officials were “treating this as an act of domestic terrorism.” But he, like other federal officials, cautioned that the investigation would ultimately determine how the shooting would be classified. Law officers swarmed the sites throughout the day after the midmorning attacks.
Site Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorist activities, said that Mr. Abdulazeez had this week posted at least two Islam-focused writings on a blog, including one in which he described life as “short and bitter.” He also said that Muslims should not miss “the opportunity to submit to Allah.”
The separate rampages, at an armed services recruiting center and a naval reserve facility, were together the highest profile episode of violence at domestic military installation since April 2014, when three people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded at Fort Hood, Tex. And the killings here came in yet another mass shooting, less than one month after nine people were killed inside a church in Charleston, S.C.
President Obama, in what has become a grimly familiar ritual, offered his condolences to the victims and promised a painstaking investigation. Pentagon officials said the identities of the dead would be released after next of kin were identified.
The shootings began shortly after 10:30 a.m. at a National Guard office
in a strip mall on Lee Highway. A witness there described hearing as
many as 20 shots fired there before the gunman fled. A photo posted to Facebook by a witness shows the door of the office littered with bullet holes.
Federal prosecutor treating attack as “an act of domestic terrorism.”