Chattanoogan Marilyn Hutcheson, a Binswanger Glass customer service representative, was on a break from work yesterday when she heard gunfire. Binswanger Glass sits just across from the Naval Reserve Center where Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez allegedly shot and killed four Marines in the early afternoon.
The shooting began Thursday morning at a military recruiting center in a strip mall, where Abdulazeez allegedly shot up the glass in the building from his car. There were no reported injuries from this location, according to a local report, but Abdulazeez traveled seven miles away to the Naval Reserve Center where he allegedly “rammed into a gate,” and opened fire again. The second location is across the street from the Binswanger Glass store.
“A friend and I who both work here [at Bingswanger Glass] were on break outside,” says Hutcheson. “We heard this gunfire. We kind of looked at each other. Then all of the sudden something zings off this building that was beside us. Less than two minutes later there was a convergence of police officers coming from everywhere. We saw a SWAT team and heard another barrage of gunfire. The next thing we knew it sounded like a war zone.”
The local Binswanger Glass store was evacuated by the police, she says. The company was shut down for six hours.
“We are safe thanks to the quick reaction of our police forces,” she says. “They neutralized the gunman quickly.”
Today, the atmosphere in town is “somber,” Hutcheson says.
“To think that someone from your community that has had all the privileges and freedom offered here in the U.S. could do something so heinous … It’s very hard to have that come into your city. You know it’s out there but you never expect it to be that close. People are pulling together as a community to try to overcome this,” she says.
There is still quite a lot of police activity across the street from the shop, but it hasn’t hindered the store’s employees and technicians from coming and going. The Naval Reserve Center sits behind a gate.
“We are trying to get on with the business of life,” Hutcheson says. “We’re back at work today. The world hasn’t stopped turning.”
From her knowledge, there wasn’t much in the way of public glass damage near the Naval Reserve Center. There was commercial glass damage at the first location, which was the recruitment center.