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Chattanooga Shooting Being Investigated As Act of Terrorism

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Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 05:51:01-04

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – According to those with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the shooter in Chattanooga purchased some of his guns illegally.

The FBI said the gunman had at least two long guns and one handgun, and some of the purchases were legal and some were not.

The police chief in Chattanooga said in a press conference Friday officers in the city dragged a wounded colleague to safety during a gunfight with the man who killed four Marines in an attack on two military sites. That officer was said to be doing well Friday.

Chief Fred Fletcher called the officers heroes for their actions and said Thursday during a news conference that their actions prevented an additional loss of life.

“Yesterday was a breathtaking example of that everyday courage - that everyday bravery that can all too often be taken for granted,” Chief Fletcher said.

The gunman, who also died in the attack, has been identified as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. FBI officials said there were no indications of self-inflicted wounds, so they believed he was killed by police officers. An autopsy on the gunman had not yet been completed.

The gunman’s motive remained unknown. Officials said they would not confirm it was ISIS-inspired, and they added there was no indication the gunman was inspired by or directed by anyone other than himself.

Bill Killian, the U.S. Attorney in eastern Tennessee, said during the press conference the attacks on two military facilities that killed four marines were being treated as a terrorism investigation.

Killian said the probe was being led by the FBI. Killian added investigators will "let the facts and the evidence lead us where it may."

A relative said the man accused of killing four Marines in Tennessee has family in the West Bank and that he visited Jordan last year.

The relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person feared repercussions, said Abdulazeez was a "nice, educated guy." Abdulazeez met the relative for the first time during his visit to Jordan last year, and the two spoke for about an hour. During that time, the relative saw no hints of violence.

The relative said his parents were both from the West Bank. The relative said the family had been mainstream Muslims, not fundamentalists. The person said "they fast, they pray and that is it."