Now Playing Officials: 5 victims in Chattanooga shootings
The unidentified gunman shot up a recruiting center before driving to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center and killing four Marines before he was shot, authorities said. Sources told Fox News police chased the gunman from the recruiting center to the Center, where the killings took place. The FBI and military police were investigating the attack, but authorities could not rule out the possibility of terrorism.
“We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism,” said Bill Killian, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The names of the Marines who were reportedly shot were not immediately released pending notification of their families. The Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center lies along a bend in the Tennessee River, northeast of downtown Chattanooga.
Despite Killian's statement, an FBI Special Agent Ed Reinhold told reporters that it may have been a criminal act. The gunman was killed, but authorities did not comment on his identity, motivation or the circumstances of his death. Authorities said the gunman did not work at either military facility.
Reinhold said all the dead were killed at the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center Chattanooga. It sits between Amnicola Highway and a pathway that runs through Tennessee RiverPark, a popular park at a bend in the Tennessee River northeast of downtown Chattanooga. It's in a light industrial area that includes a Coca-Cola bottling plant and Binswanger Glass.
The two entrances to the fenced facility have unmanned gates and concrete barriers that require approaching cars to slow down to drive around them.
Marilyn Hutcheson, who works at Binswanger Glass just across the street from the center on Amnicola Highway, said she heard a barrage of gunfire around 11 a.m.
"It was rapid fire, like pow pow pow pow pow, so quickly""I couldn't even begin to tell you how many," she said. "It was rapid fire, like pow pow pow pow pow, so quickly. The next thing I knew, there were police cars coming from every direction."
- Marilyn Hutcheson, a witness
President Obama was briefed by his national security team on the shooting involving two military sites, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
In the first incident, the gunman, in a silver Mustang, drove up to the Armed Forces Career Center in a strip mall on Lee's Highway and sprayed the facade with gunfire before driving off, officials said. An unidentified police officer was shot in the ankle, but not seriously injured, according to reports.
A federal law enforcement official told Fox News that officers from FBI's Knoxville field office responded to the scene.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that there is a heavy police presence at the scene, along with five ambulances.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it was holding departing flights at their gates in Chattanooga, with delays projected to last 15 minutes or less.