(MILLINGTON, Tenn.) — The suspect in custody following a shooting Thursday on U.S. Navy property in Millington, Tenn., was in the process of being dismissed by the Navy when he became “irate.”
The fast actions of a handful of military members prevented the situation from being “a whole lot worse,” police said.
The suspect was an E7, or a sergeant first class, who was in the process of being dismissed at a Tennessee National Guard Armory, according to Millington Police Department Inspector Reginald Fields, who was one of the first responders on-scene.
Two military men were there to relieve the suspect from duty. The suspect allegedly became “irate” and told the men interviewing him that he “needed some air,” Fields said. As he went outside, they asked him for all of his Army-issued merchandise.
“He became irate and went to get his Army-issued computer, at which time he did retrieve the computer and had a loaded Glock pistol inside of his computer bag,” Fields said.
When the suspect came back from his car, the two military members were “already suspicious” of him because of his behavior, Fields said, so when the suspect pulled the gun out, the two men were already “right on top of him.”
During the scuffle, the gun went off and one of the men was injured, Fields said.
The suspect made it outside as the scuffle continued and that’s when the second military member was shot, four to five feet outside the door, Fields said.
One soldier was shot in the foot and the other was shot in the leg, but it is unclear which was which. The suspect attempted to escape, Fields said, but was caught by two other soldiers.
Fields was one of the first officers on the scene. When he arrived, the soldier injured outside pointed to the west side of the building where the two other soldiers had tackled the man and had him in custody.
“I would tell you, if it had not been for the other two soldiers tackling him after he started running — because he made it somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 or 30 yards — if they had not tackled him and apprehend him, it could have been a whole lot worse,” Fields said.
The suspect was not injured. Fields did not yet know why the suspect was being dismissed.
A Navy official said that the shooting occurred around 12:47 p.m. central time.
The base was on lockdown for a while as a precaution, the Navy tweeted, but the lockdown was subsequently lifted.
Navy and base police first responded to the incident and are working with local law enforcement, officials said.
The base is a shared facility with the Tennessee National Guard. Millington is about 20 miles northeast of Memphis.
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