WASHINGTON — Thursday’s assault on a U.S. military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the latest in a string of attacks on the centers over the last seven years.
With that type of track record, wouldn’t you expect to find pretty stringent security measures being taken? Apparently, they’re not so stringent.
“An Army recruiting center is the Army in the community. If young men and women want to come and talk to us, we need a nice, open area for them to come and do that,” said Brian Lepley, a civilian spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. “We need a welcoming area. You know, barricades, barriers and built like a fortress is not really an inviting atmosphere.”
Lepley said security measures are taken at these facilities, but he wouldn’t say what they are.
These are the recruiting center attacks since 2008.
Gunman Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez began his shooting rampage in Tennessee at a recruiting center in a Chattanooga strip mall. He unleashed a barrage of bullets from an AK-47-style weapon, law enforcement officials said, injuring a recruiter. Abdulazeez went to a Navy operational support center 7 miles away and opened fire again, killing four Marines and seriously injuring a sailor, a Pentagon official said. Police killed the gunman. He was born in Kuwait and had Jordanian citizenship, two law enforcement officials said.
Former Marine reservist Yonathan Melaku pleaded guilty to shooting at the Pentagon and other military-related buildings and to trying to desecrate graves at Arlington National Cemetery containing the remains of veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. The drive-by shootings took place in October and November of 2010. Two of the targets were recruiting centers in northern Virginia. Melaku is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Ethiopia. Prosecutors said he had “a large amount of jihadist material on his computer.”
Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, an American citizen and Muslim convert, was sentenced to life in prison for shooting two soldiers at a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was charged with killing Pvt. William Long and wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. Muhammad was angry at the U.S. military because of “what they had done to Muslims in the past,” Little Rock homicide Detective Tommy Hudson has said.
Times Square, New York, 2008
A bomb exploded in front of a Times Square recruiting center in March of 2008. The blast went off around 3:45 a.m. There were no injuries. Surveillance footage showed someone riding a bicycle away from the scene shortly after the explosion. The case was never solved.