This article will update as details emerge.
CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE — In what can only be described as a tragic day for armed forces members serving at the Lee Highway Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga and Navy and Marines reserve center at Amnicola Highway, a gunman opened fire on both facilities, killing four United States Marines and injuring one police officer. According to the NY Daily News, the gunman is believed to be dead at this time.
At least two Marines were shot and killed at the Lee Highway Armed Forces Career Center and another two are believed to have been killed at the Navy and Marines Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway where police finally engaged the suspect.
It was outside the reserve center that a Tennessee police officer was shot in the leg, according to CBS News, and evacuated to medical care.
While recalling the harrowing incident, witnesses describe a chaotic scene unfolding.
via CBS News
Marilyn Hutcheson, who works at Binswanger Glass just across the street from the U.S. Naval Reserve building on Amnicola Highway, said she heard a barrage of gunfire around 11 a.m.
“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.”
The gunfire on the reserve naval facility continued for an estimated 20 minutes, according to witnesses cited by CBS News, before police arrived on the scene and responded to the active shooter.
Back at the first shooting location at the Lee Highway Armed Forces Recruiting Center, a witness in a neighboring store reportedly heard the gunfire but didn’t believe it could be real.
via CBS News
Near the other shooting location on Lee Highway, Nicholas Donohue heard a blast of gunshots while working at Desktop Solutions. But he had music playing and wasn’t quite sure what the noise had been. He turned off the music and seconds later, a second blast thundered. He took shelter in a back room.
“Even though it knew it was most likely gunfire I heard, you also don’t want to believe it’s happening in the moment,” he said. “Since I didn’t see anything, I couldn’t be sure.”
Both locations were considered “gun free zones”, thus military are only authorized to carry weapons by order of the commander of the installation. Unfortunately, that order didn’t make it time.
No details have emerged regarding the shooter’s motive or why he decided to target the armed forces in particular. We will continue to update as more information comes in. Please keep all those affected in your hearts and prayers.