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Gunman's Motivation Unclear After Shootings At Tennessee Military Sites

Reserve Recruitment personnel stand outside a military recruiting center on Lee Highway in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the area is cordoned off with blue shell casing markers. Officials said two military facilities in Tennessee were attacked in shootings Thursday. i

Reserve Recruitment personnel stand outside a military recruiting center on Lee Highway in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the area is cordoned off with blue shell casing markers. Officials said two military facilities in Tennessee were attacked in shootings Thursday. Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP hide caption

toggle caption Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP
Reserve Recruitment personnel stand outside a military recruiting center on Lee Highway in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the area is cordoned off with blue shell casing markers. Officials said two military facilities in Tennessee were attacked in shootings Thursday.

Reserve Recruitment personnel stand outside a military recruiting center on Lee Highway in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the area is cordoned off with blue shell casing markers. Officials said two military facilities in Tennessee were attacked in shootings Thursday.

Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

Updated at 11:53 p.m. ET

The motivations of the gunman who opened fire at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tenn., are still unknown, officials said late Thursday. Four Marines died in the morning's attack; three other people were wounded.

The gunman is also dead, though it's unclear how he was killed.

In a news conference Thursday night, U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said investigators believe there are "no safety concerns for the general public." FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said there is nothing that "directly ties [the gunman] to an international terrorist organization" and that so far there is no indication anyone else was involved. No one else has been taken into custody, Reinhold said.

The FBI have identified the gunman as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24. Law enforcement officials tell NPR's Dina Temple-Raston that he is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Kuwait. His parents are Jordanian. Local news organizations tweeted a picture of him, which NPR has confirmed. Their spelling of his name differs, however.

Officials also tell Dina he is from Hixson, Tenn. Law enforcement were searching his home. FBI investigators are also looking at computers, his online history, and any affiliations he might have. No other information is known about him.

The FBI in a statement said the bureau's Knoxville Field Office, the Chattanooga Police Department and other law enforcement agencies are working jointly to investigate the shootings.

The shots were first fired from his rented silver Ford Mustang at a military recruiting center on Lee Highway at about 10:45 a.m. ET. Reporter Rabbit Zielke, of member station WUTC, tells NPR's All Things Considered police then pursued the suspect to the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center Chattanooga on Amnicola Highway where he opened fire again. Reinhold told reporters the suspect had "several weapons," though he would not give details about what they were.

All those killed, including the attacker, were shot at the Navy building, Reinhold said at an earlier news conference. The entire incident lasted 30 minutes.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, confirmed the victims were all Marines.

"Lives have been lost from some faithful people who are serving our country," Gov. Bill Haslam said, adding he was "sickened and saddened by this."

Reinhold said they believed the shooter was acting alone. The suspect, who is believed to be from the area, had numerous weapons, officials said at the news conference.

After initially saying the shootings were an "act of domestic terrorism," officials backtracked, saying all angles are being pursued as the motive is investigated.

A police officer who was shot in the ankle is being treated at a local hospital. Other individuals, including a Marine, also were injured and were treated. The Marine was later released.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter called the shootings a "senseless act of violence." President Obama vowed a prompt and thorough investigation.

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