CHICAGO – Five people were killed on Thursday, including a suspected gunman who opened fire at two military-related facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in an attack local officials described as an act of terrorism.
“We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism,” said Bill Killian, a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
Witnesses and local media reports said the gunman, driving an open-top Ford Mustang, fired at two locations including a military recruiting center and a U.S. Navy Reserve center about 6 miles (10 km) apart. Witnesses said they heard scores of shots.
A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama had been told about the shooting.
“The president has been briefed by his national security staff on the Chattanooga shooting, and will continue to get updates as warranted,” said spokesman Eric Schultz.
Lockdowns had been put in place at businesses, a college and other facilities near the shooting sites.
A witness at a glass company near the Navy center said the shooting there starting at about 11 a.m. (1500 GMT).
“We have heard multiple shots fired,” said Marilyn Hutcheson of Binswanger Glass installation and repair service.
Near the recruiting center, a witness said the gunman appeared to be calm.
“Everybody was at a standstill and as soon as he pulled away everyone scrabbled trying to make sure everyone was OK,” said Erica Wright, who works two doors down from the recruiting center.
A photo of the recruiting center broadcast on cable TV news channel CNN showed its entrance riddled with bullet holes.
A Marine was wounded at the recruiting center, a military official said.
The shooting did not injure any Army recruiters nor did any bullets penetrate the Army area of the recruiting center, according to Brian Lepley, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Federal authorities were also on the scene, local news reports said. The Tennessee Highway Patrol also assisted local law enforcement, said spokesman John Harmon.
The city along the Tennessee River is in the southeastern section of the state just north of the Georgia border. Just over 173,000 people live there, according to a 2013 estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.
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