Officials responded to reports of several shootings in Chattanooga on Thursday.
Senator Lamar Alexander said, “I am saddened by the news that four Marines lost their lives today in the service of their country. My thoughts and prayers are with their families, loved ones, and the Chattanooga community. I have continued to be in touch with local, state, and military leaders, and I eagerly await the results of their investigation into today's tragic and senseless murders.”
Earlier this afternoon, prior to confirmation of the four Marines’ deaths, Senator Alexander spoke on the Senate floor about the breaking news.
“Today, between 10:00 and 11:00 there was a violent attack in Chattanooga, where Senator Corker was once mayor,” he said, motioning to Corker, who joined him on the Senate floor to make a statement on the developing news. “Right now, federal, state, and local officials are responding in Tennessee. I’m deeply disturbed by the reports. We understand a shooting took place at the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, and a police officer has been injured. We understand other individuals at the Naval Reserve Center may have been injured as well. Many schools and local hospitals are locked down. I’ve been in touch with federal, state, and local officials and will continue to monitor the situation closely. My thoughts and prayers are with all involved.”
Senator Corker said, “I am heart-broken by the tragic shootings that have taken place today in my hometown,” said Corker. “We have been in touch with federal, state and local officials and continue to monitor developments and have offered our assistance. This is a difficult day for Tennesseans and our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this tragedy.”
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann said, “This has been a tragic day for Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee. My heart and prayers go out to everyone involved in this horrendous situation. I have spoken with local, state and federal officials and will continue to monitor this situation closely.”
Congressman Scott DesJarlais said, “I am deeply saddened by the horrific actions that resulted in the loss of four Marine lives in Chattanooga. My thoughts and prayers are with our Tennessee community and all those affected by this senseless act of violence. I have been in contact with local, state and federal officials and will continue to monitor any developments in the investigation.”
Rep. Tom Graves said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Marines who were killed in the horrific attack in Chattanooga today. These Marines perished while serving our country and I know that our community in Northwest Georgia is forever grateful for their sacrifice.”
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said, “I am deeply saddened to hear of today’s horrific events in our hometown of Chattanooga. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I have been in contact with state and local officials to monitor any developments. I have the utmost confidence in our law enforcement agencies to handle this situation in a swift and professional manner.”
Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini said, "Our hearts break for the victims of today’s shootings. The military officers and police, some of the city’s finest and bravest, were simply doing their jobs and serving their communities when this senseless act of violence occurred. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims, to the officer and other victims who are now receiving medical attention.
"We are relieved that this terrible ordeal is over and are glad for the swift organized reaction and coordinated response between local, state, federal law enforcement agencies, emergency personnel and city officials that kept the people of Chattanooga safe.
"We offer our heartfelt support and grieve alongside the families, law enforcement, city officials and the entire Chattanooga.“
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said, “We are shocked and saddened by the senseless shootings at a Navy Reserve center and military recruitment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our thoughts are with the police officer and four Marines who were injured, as well as their families and the Chattanooga community.
“We do not yet know how the shooter obtained his firearm. As the details continue to unfold in Tennessee, it is already clear that this is another reminder of the work that needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We owe it to the men and women at our military installations, our communities and the 89 people killed every day by guns to take action now."
Violence Policy Center (VPC) Executive Director Josh Sugarmann said, “Another day in America, another mass shooting. While we are still learning the facts behind this latest mass murder, easy access to increasingly lethal firearms is the one factor that is almost constant in these attacks. Lives are lost, families are devastated, and communities are scarred, yet all too often we look for answers while ignoring the very tools that are commonly used to perpetrate these heinous acts. Until this changes, such horrific events are inevitable.”
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said,"We condemn this horrific attack in the strongest terms possible. Such inexcusable acts of violence must be repudiated by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds. The American Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow citizens in offering condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured and in rejecting anyone who would harm our nation's safety and security. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families impacted by this tragedy."
Tennessee Representative JoAnne Favors said she is “very disturbed” by the shootings. Ms. Favors said one of the centers is within two to three miles of her home and she praised the work of law-enforcement in controlling the situation. “The response by the city and county officers, as well as the FBI and Homeland Security was amazing,” she said. She added that the attacks were “deeply troubling” and she urged everyone to join the people of her district in supporting and praying for the victims and their families. “Now is a time for us to pull together and begin the healing process after this terrible tragedy.”
Secretary Jeh C. Johnson stated, "The Department of Homeland Security is closely monitoring the tragic shooting in Chattanooga, and we are supporting the FBI-led investigation. We caution that, at this time, there are many unconfirmed and possibly false reports about events. Department officials are actively supporting the local response to this incident. The Department is also enhancing the security posture at certain federal facilities, out of an abundance of caution. We express our condolences to the families of those members of the United States Marine Corps who were killed."
Speaker Beth Harwell said, "I'm shocked and saddened by today's tragedy in Chattanooga. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected, and with those first responders who put their lives on the line to keep the city and this state safe."
Beth Joslin Roth, Safe Tennessee Project Policy director said, "We at The Safe Tennessee Project are deeply saddened by the shootings in our state this morning at both the Navy Reserve center and the military recruitment center in Chattanooga. Our hearts break for the families of the four brave Marines who lost their lives and the police officer and others who were injured. To lose a loved one in such an unexpected, violent, and horrible way is sadly too common in our country. Our thoughts are also with those who witnessed the shootings and the first responders on the scene. Bearing witness to a mass shooting and its aftermath will undoubtedly remain with them for years to come. We are grateful for the leadership of Mayor Andy Berke and the Chattanooga Police Department who by all accounts, acted quickly and decisively. Like Tennesseans and Americans everywhere, we will continue to pray for the victims, their families, and the city of Chattanooga."
Commissioner Bill Gibbons said, “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the U.S. Marines killed and to all of the victims injured in the senseless act of violence today in Chattanooga. This is the kind of event that we hope wi ll never happen. Today, it happened right here in Tennessee.
"Thank you to all of the local, state, and federal law enforcement officials and other first responders who acted courageously in the minutes and hours after the tragedy. We promptly dispatched the Office of Homeland Security personnel and Tennessee state troopers to provide security at various state facilities in the area and are prepared to provide whatever assistance local or federal authorities may need as the investigation continues.”
Bassam Issa, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, said, "We are tremendously saddened by today's shooting in our home town of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our hearts are with the families of the brave Marines who died today and with the police officer and two bystanders who were shot and injured in this cowardly act.
"We condemn this act in the strongest possible terms as one of cowardice and hate. At the Islamic Center of Greater Chattanooga, we don't see our community center as a "Muslim" community; we are Chattanoogans first, and we see ourselves as part of the larger community of Tennesseans grieving today's act."
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA urged calm. “This is tragic and incomprehensible,” said Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, National Vice President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, “While we do not yet know what motivated this man, we urge calm, defer to authorities to justly resolve this, and pray for the departed U.S. Marines.
"The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA is proud of the many Muslim Americans who serve this country in the armed forces and dedicate their lives to protecting America. We pray for the speedy recovery of those wounded, and offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims."