Locals shaken by Chattanooga shootings

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thursday's shootings at the recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are troubling to those working at similar offices in Jacksonville and across the southeast, but their work continues.

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez allegedly shot and killed four Marines and wounded several others Thursday morning after shooting at two Armed Forces facilities in Chattanooga, which is about 140 miles southeast of Nashville.

Shortly after 11 a.m., authorities said the shooter drove up to a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, where he pulled out a weapon and opened fire. He then headed to a nearby naval center where more shots were fired.

In a matter of 30 minutes, four Marines were killed and several others were wounded.

Police believe the shooter acted alone, and investigators believe this was an act of domestic terrorism.

Angela Silva lives near an Armed Forces recruiting center in Jacksonville and said it's sad the world is turning this way.

"It's frustrating, it's horrible. It's not right," said Silva. "They're helping us out, and you're going to do something to them like that. It's not right."

Silva's opinion mimics the opinion of thousands of people across the nation, after hearing that someone opened fire on U.S. military personnel.

Her father was a former Marine who served in the Vietnam War and is now disabled, but Silva described him as strong.


"His name is James Silva, and he was a Marine. He served in the Vietnam War, and he got wounded by shrapnel. He has a couple in his knee, (and) his finger got taken off."

There are numerous recruiting facilities throughout the city, and the U.S. Navy's regional recruiting office is also in Jacksonville. Plus, the office in Tennessee falls under the Navy Region Southeast, which is headquartered at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Rear Adm. Mary Jackson, who leads the Navy Region Southeast, was traveling and not available for reaction, but her office said it is evaluating the situation in Tennessee to determine how they can support the reserve center and the recruiting station, which could include making counselors and chaplains available to help those affected.

About 150 people are recruited each month from the 36 offices in Florida and Georgia.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Navy recruiting headquarters said this incident will only make the armed forces stronger.

"I don't believe it will have a concern or the effect with sailors on a daily basis," said Chief Petty Officer Heather Ewton. "Whether in sea or in shore, sailors face adversity, and they need to move forward to get the job done. And I don't believe something that serious could even stop sailors from getting the job done."

About the Authors: