On July 16, 2015, a 24-year-old Kuwaiti shooter assaulted a military recruitment center in Chattanooga and started shooting at recruits before running seven miles to a Navy reserve unit. He immediately killed four US Marine officers in a fenced-off motor pool at this facility. This occurrence prompted an examination of the possibility of homegrown terrorism. A police officer, two Marine Corps recruiters, and several individuals were gravely injured in the ongoing shooting events in Chattanooga, according to certain claims acquired from law enforcement sources. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified the shooter as Mohammad Yousuff Abdulazeez, and he passed away at the site from gunshot wounds (Shoichet & Tuchman, 2015). The FBI revealed that while still in his leased convertible silver Ford Mustang, the gunman initially distributed gunshots to a recruitment agency along Lee Highway. A few minutes later, the assailant drove his vehicle through a fence at a Navy reserve installation seven miles away. As sailors and Marines tried to flee the danger, he opened fire and entered the main building.
According to a background check on the attacker, he was a naturalized citizen of the United States who went to high school and college in Chattanooga, Tennessee (Shoichet & Tuchman, 2015). Authorities specializing in counterterrorism had not looked into Mohammad at the time of the attack for any possible connections to terrorism. However, a federal official involved in the investigation noted that his father had been connected to providing financial support to a group involved in regional terrorism. Additionally, Ridge argued that ISIS carried its conflict to America and was in charge of the assaults despite the lack of proof linking them to Abdulazeez. This assertion was disproven by further evidence. Other officials opted for a more general response and stated that the terrorist’s inspiration came from the media. It is common to attribute terrorism to Islam without doing more research, especially in an era where the issue is frequently politicized on a large scale. Without looking at the problems Abdulazeez has dealt with most of his adult life, it is impossible to comprehend his perspective or what drives him.
Description of the Terrorist Group(s) Involved and Their Objectives
The purpose of the attack sparks contentious discussions about whether it was a terrorist strike or simply a heinous crime directed toward the police. However, many publications connected terrorism to the horrifying events in Chattanooga. An FBI Director at the site allegedly claimed that the event was inspired by foreign terrorist organization propaganda, which was according to Shoichet and Tuchman (2015). The FBI looked into the shooting as a possible act of terrorism even though these accusations did not immediately give a foundation for identifying specific extremist groups that the shooting could have influenced Mohammad Abdulazeez (Shoichet & Tuchman, 2015). The director’s comments suggested that the actions were radical. President Barack Obama referred to the incident almost simultaneously with numerous other extreme events. Such as the shooting rampage in California by 26-year-old Mason James Lira that resulted in the murder of one man and the injury of four police officers. The president also mentioned an incident in which a suspicious individual flashed a pistol at a gas station in San Bernardino before being shot by the police.
The reality has backed up these findings that terrorist threats have constantly changed, mostly due to improving methods for addressing complex crises like 9/11. This degree of awareness is said to have caused attackers to choose less-complicated strategies, such as the mass shootings that have grown more regularly in recent years (Shoichet & Tuchman, 2015). Nevertheless, there is insufficient proof linking the shooter to a global terrorist group. The incidents that led to the shooter’s decision to act are still unknown.
An investigation into the Incident by Local, State, Or Federal Authorities
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) looked into the incident and found several things about the attacker. Tilghman (2022) stated that the accused had multiple instances of breaking traffic laws and that there were ongoing legal proceedings. As an illustration, Mohammad was detained for drugged driving in April 2015 (Tilghman, 2022). The FBI could not determine if the incident was related to terrorism or a crime. However, until a thorough investigation was conducted, US Attorney Bill Killian urged the police to regard the incident as a domestic terrorist (Tilghman, 2022). Shoichet and Tuchman (2015) revealed that the attacker was brilliant in school and frequently received praise for achieving good marks. This justification fell short of proving why the tragedy was committed.
In the wake of rising radicalism, both extremism and domestic terrorism are well-understood phenomena. People have learned from the horrible crimes committed by assailants worldwide (Tilghman, 2022). Therefore, it is crucial to learn important lessons from homeland security and emergency management perspectives. Authorities’ comments on the incident about the level of protection at the military bases conflicted. Therefore, the significance of a tiered emergency alarm system created to enable the effective and efficient transmission of disasters, Abdulazeez’s example illustrates this point. Signals are crucial for raising notice of an incident (Szpunar, 2018). For example, students were unaware of the attackers’ activities during the Virginia Tech shooting. The presence of a well-organized emerging response system can eliminate several dangers that could otherwise result in deaths.
The episode also illustrates the value of public knowledge. After a mass shooting, there is much pressure from the public, the relatives of the dead, and the media. People are eager to learn who perished, who survived, and where the victims are. A single voice must be used to offer accurate and true information. Coordinating a single victim list with the police force, hospitals, EMS, and medical examiners is crucial so that the appropriate individuals may be informed (Szpunar, 2018). Plans should be in place to prevent rumors from spreading and guarantee that the audience receives the same information.
At police stations, offices, and institutions of learning, it is crucial to provide proper security and communication. Physical barriers must be sturdy enough to safeguard security personnel and prevent any cars from trying to ram gates, as Mohammad Abdulazeez did. Particularly following a mass casualty catastrophe, relevant authorities should create family support centers where the victim’s close relatives can gather to wait for any information on their loved ones. These places function as emergency shelters and must include social facilities such as restrooms, seating areas, separate family rooms, and proper security supervision.
To conclude, the shootings also prompted the creation of a new policy to define how state and municipal governments should use firearms. This incident raised questions about the legality and safety of carrying concealed firearms in public. There was debate over how many riffles were used in the event because it was clear that one of the US Marine officers utilized a personal firearm (Tilghman, 2022). Last but not least, the incident sparked a call for high-level policy to equip soldiers to improve readiness across the United States.
Shoichet, C. E & Tuchman, G. (2015). Chattanooga shooting: 4 Marines killed, a dead suspect and questions of motive. CNN.
Szpunar, P. M. (2018). A guileful ruse: ISIS, media, and tactics of appropriation. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 15(3), 232-251.
Tilghman, A. (2022). Now is the time to rename the carrier John C. Stennis. Military Times. Web.