Chattanooga Shooter Being Treated As ‘Homegrown Extremist’

Timothy Meads Contributor
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The FBI is treating last week’s Tennessee gunman as a “homegrown violent extremist”, yet the agency says it is too early to tell if he was radicalized.

Federal Special Agent Ed Reinhold gave details of last week’s attack to reporters in a Wednesday press conference. Reinhold is in charge of the investigation of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, the 24-year-old responsible for the shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The attack killed four Marines dead and one sailor on Thursday.

According to the FBI, three different guns were found at the scene, but all five servicemen were killed by bullets from the same gun.

Just before 11 A.M. last Thursday, Abdulazeez fired shots from his vehicle into a military recruitment office. Next, he headed towards the second target and rammed his car through the joint Marine-Navy base security gates.

A service member opened fire on him, but was unable to take him down. The gunman kept moving and entered the building, taking fire and killing one service member.

He traveled across the building, shooting anybody he saw, and entered out the back door. He shot four service members once outside.

Chattanooga police officers shot and killed Mohammad Youssuf Abulazeez, but Major General Paul W. Brier said at the Wednesday press conference that the “Marines reacted the way you would expect.” He did not delve into anymore details about their response. The attack lasted just over five minutes, according to Brier.

Authorities say they have just under 400 leads they are currently investigating. The gunman’s maternal uncle has been apprehended by authorities after they discovered Abulazaeez lived with him in Jordan for a short period of time.

The FBI says it is still unclear what influences surrounded him while abroad and if his time in the Middle East played any type of role in his motivations. According to the FBI’s website, “Homegrown violent extremism (HVE) is very difficult to define. It is a rapidly evolving threat with characteristics that are constantly changing due to external experiences and motivational factors.”