Attack on military recruiting center prompts safety questions

The Department of Homeland Security says it is increasing security at certain military facilities in response to Thursday’s attack at two military facilities a few miles apart in Chattanooga, TN.

The feds add that they're doing so out of "an abundance of caution.”

But at store fronts across North Texas, extra security at military recruiting centers isn't necessarily apparent.

Recruiters sat ready to answer questions from potential servicemen and women on Thursday, without the benefit of armed guards that one might see at a military post.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity identified the gunman in Thursday’s attack as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez of Hixton, Tennessee, and said he was believed to have been born in Kuwait, though it was unclear whether he was a U.S. or Kuwaiti citizen..

The attacks took places minutes apart, with the gunman stopping his car and opening fire first at a military recruiting center for all five branches of the military, then apparently driving to a Navy-Marine training center 7 miles away. The attacks were over within a half-hour.

Retired Navy SEAL Clint Bruce cautions against a kneejerk reaction to adjusting security.

“It can happen anywhere, but it's also not happening in a lot of places,” he said. “And why is it not happening in a lot of places? One of the reasons…is it’s hard to do that stuff. America is a generally prepared, vigilant and aware nation.”

In store-front recruitment centers, especially, recruiters are in a place where they can interact with the public and seek out the best recruits.

It's an effort State Rep. Tony Tinderholt helped lead in North Texas for almost six years.

“Even when I was in recruiting, I got out in 2013, some of the things we had to consider, sadly, were, ‘Are there escape routes? Are there back doors? What are our contingency plans if bad things happen?’” said Tinderholt.

He says recruiting offices train for active shooter situations, but he says it's time for federal lawmakers to consider allowing military members to carry weapons inside the centers, which are gun-free zones.

“I just think these guys are doing a job out there, trying to make a difference,” said Tinderholt. “We need to take that barrier away of them having to worry about this every day; about protecting themselves.”

FOX 4 reached out to reserve centers and recruitment centers, but we were told that they've all received commands to not give interviews or perspectives on this. 

Even Bruce said he's hesitant to point out what can be done differently so soon after the attack when a lot of details aren't yet known.