“Today was a nightmare for the city of Chattanooga,” Mayor Andy Berke said. “As a city, we will respond to this with every available resource that we have.”
Four Marine recruiters are reportedly dead and one officer is “down” in connection with the shootings, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told reporters. He was not specific about the officer’s condition.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said officials were treating the attacks as an “act of domestic terrorism,” though FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said authorities were still investigating a motive. The first shooting happened around 10:45 a.m.; the attacks were over within a half-hour.
The U.S. Navy tweeted Thursday that a shooting happened at a Navy Reserve center on Amnicola Highway in Chattanooga, and witnesses said they saw a shooting outside a separate location — a building on Lee Highway that houses military recruiting offices.
Gina Mule, a server at a restaurant, said she saw a man who’d been in a silver convertible Mustang, firing a “high-powered rifle” at the recruiting offices at about 10:50 a.m.
She said she first heard “Pow, pow, pow!” She then went to a window, through which she said she saw the man firing shots.
“I don’t know how many shots he fired, but it was a lot,” she said.
A second witness, April Grimmett, said she was working at a hair salon near the recruiting center when she looked out a window and saw a man ducking in between cars.
“Shortly after that, we heard the (shots). It was very loud and very fast,” Grimmett said, without saying what happened to the man she had seen.
A photo that she took shows glass doors damaged by the gunfire.
The U.S. Navy said that besides the Navy Reserve center, it was also investigating reports of a shooting at another Navy building in the city. It wasn’t immediately clear whether that second Navy building was the recruiting center that the witnesses spoke about.
“Horrific incident in our community,” Berke, the mayor, tweeted. “We will release details as they are confirmed. Prayers to all those affected.”