One of the Marines who was inside a Chattanooga recruitment center when a gunman unleashed a barrage of gunfire said military training took over after the first gunshot was heard Thursday morning.
"There was the one single shot that alerted us, and about a second or so after that the first volley of fire erupted," Marines Sgt. Robert Dodge told NBC News Thursday night.
Dodge, who served four tours in Iraq and is the father of one son, had only been stationed at the recruiting center for 35 days before alleged gunman Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, fired between 25 and 30 rounds at the storefront around 10:45 a.m.
The four Marines in the recruiting station went into "active shooter" drill after the first gunshot and barricaded themselves in the back of the building, Dodge said. One soldier was shot in the leg. Per policy, soldiers in the recruitment station are not armed.
Had the gunman entered the station, Dodge said "we would have done what every other soldier would have done, we would have taken him out to the best of our ability, or we would have died trying."
The gunman never entered the recruiting station, instead driving off to a Naval/Marine Corps center where he killed four Marines and critically wound a Navy sailor before being killed himself after a shootout with police.