A patient believed to be one of the National guardsmen injured near the naval base in Millington, Tenn., was taken to The Med in Memphis on Oct. 24. (Karen Pulfer Focht / AP)
A member of the National Guard opened fire at an armory outside a U.S. Navy base in Tennessee, wounding two soldiers before being subdued and disarmed by others soldiers, officials said Thursday.
Millington Police Chief Rita Stanback said the shooter was apprehended Thursday by other National Guard members, and that he did not have the small handgun used in the shooting in his possession by the time officers arrived. Stanback said two National Guard members were shot, one in the foot and one in the leg.
“I’m sure there could have been more injury if they hadn’t taken him into custody,” Stanback said.
Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s adjutant general, said at a news conference that the victims were being treated at a local hospital and he expected them to be released.
Authorities haven’t released the name of the shooter or the victims. But Haston said all three of the men were recruiters and that the shooter was a sergeant first class who had been in the Guard about six or seven years and that the victims — one a major and the other a sergeant major — were his superiors.
Haston characterized Thursday’s activity as disheartening.
“You never think something like this is going to happen on your watch or in good old Tennessee here,” he said.
Stanback said at an earlier news conference that the soldiers’ conditions were not immediately known, though the Navy said on its official Twitter account that neither had life-threatening injuries.
The shooter was a recruiter who had been relieved of duty, said a law enforcement official briefed on the developments. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Asked about this at the news conference, Haston would only say that there were “administrative policies and procedures that we were going through with him.” He did not elaborate.
Stanback said the shooting happened inside an armory building just outside Naval Support Activity Mid-South. There are more than 7,500 military, civilian and contract personnel working on the base, according to the facility’s official website. The facility is home to human resources operations and serves as headquarters to the Navy Personnel Command, Navy Recruiting Command, the Navy Manpower Analysis Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Finance Center.
The Navy said the base was briefly placed on lockdown as a precaution, though the lockdown was lifted in the afternoon.
On Thursday afternoon, yellow crime scene tape remained around the front of the building where the shooting happened. Law enforcement had blocked off streets with access to the armory, which is across the street from the army base.