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Millington National Guard shooter formally charged

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MILLINGTON, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Amos Patton, 42, of Cordova made his first court appearance in federal court wearing an orange jump suit; his arms and legs shackled. He was charged today in a criminal complaint with one count of assault within the maritime and territorial jurisdiction in the United States, and one count of carrying  and using a firearm during and in relation to a federal crime of violence.

He will be held without bond until a detention hearing next Wednesday. He didn't say anything in court. He faces a federal assault charge and a weapons charge.

Patton's wife was seated in the first row of the courtroom.

MORE: Guardsman held without bail in shooting 3 at armory

A Tennessee National Guard spokesman says Amos Patton joined the guard in 1999. He was an Armorer, Supply Sergeant and most recently recruiter.

FOX13 obtained the Criminal Complaint against National Guard shooter Amos Patton.

According to the court papers Patton was called to the Tennessee National Guard Recruiting Center, located at 5650 Attu, to be relieved of duty, recommended for reduction in rank, and recommended for separation from the active guard reserved because of alleged "misconduct."

READ HERE: Criminal Complaint

The complaint says Patton was ordered to return government equipment that was in his vehicle outside the building. Ross says Amos brought the gun into the armory in a fanny pack.

A soldier saw the weapon when Patton tried to access the fanny pack and yelled "GUN".

The FBI agent says a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) tried to immediately subdue Patton. Patton fired several shots hitting three Tennessee Army National Guard personnel. Patton ran from the armory, followed by the senior NCO, who caught Patton and subdued him outside the armory until Millington Police arrived.

If Patton is convicted he could receive up to twenty years for the assault charge and could receive a minimum of ten years for the firearms charge, according to U.S. Attorney's office.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the NCIS.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Godwin is representing the government. 

Tennessee Guard Press Release: "In addition to the injured Soldiers identified yesterday as Maj. William J. Crawford and Sgt. Maj. Ricky R. McKenzie, Lt. Col. Hunter Belcher was reported today to have been grazed by a bullet just below the right knee during the incident.  Another round from the weapon went through a backpack he was wearing, but did not inflict any injuries.  All personnel injured have been treated and released.

Further information will be released as it becomes available.  The incident is under investigation by local and federal authorities."

Stay with FOX13 as this story develops.

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(previous story)

A member of the Tennessee Army National Guard opened fire at an armory outside the U.S. Navy base in Millington, north of Memphis, wounding two soldiers before being tackled, subdued, and disarmed by other soldiers, officials said.

The two guardsmen, a major and sergeant major, are being treated for non-life threatening wounds at The MED in Memphis. Millington Police Chief Rita Stanback said one of the soldiers was shot in the foot and the other in the leg.

Naval Support Activity Mid-South was on lockdown as a precaution moments after the shooting shortly after 12:45 p.m. at the nearby Armory Reserve Center. The lockdown was lifted in the afternoon.

MORE: Navy statement regarding shooting near NSA Millington

Stanback said the shooter did not have the small handgun used in the shooting in his possession by the time officers arrived.

"I'm sure there could have been more injury if they hadn't taken him into custody," Stanback said.

Authorities haven't released the name of the shooter or the victims. But Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee's adjutant general, said at a news conference 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, were his superiors.

Maj. Gen. 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.

The alleged unnamed shooter was facing discipline from two senior soldiers. A law enforcement source said he went out to his car, got a gun, walked back into the armory, and started shooting.

"We did have two patients that were transported to The MED," Millington Fire Chief Gary Graves said.

The two shooting victims are both combat veterans and they are assigned to the recruiting battalion in Jackson, Tenn.

"You never think something like this is going to happen on your watch or in good old Tennessee here," said Maj. Gen. Haston, who flew from Nashville to Millington. "Unfortunately it did happen."

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.

The FBI is now handling the investigation. A news conference is expected Friday.

The shooter is in police custody. He's been in the Army guard for about six years. The accused shooter is expected to be prosecuted under federal law.

"One of the positives that can be taken out of this today is the fact of the cooperation and the training that has gone on in the active shooter scenario," Maj. Gen. Haston said.

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 National Guard Armory is across the street from NSA Mid-South. As the naval base went on lockdown employees were told to shelter in place. FOX13 News was told military personnel took the lockdown "in stride. There was no panic, these people are highly trained and followed orders."  

Maj. Gen. Haston credited the Navy and Millington Police and Fire for their quick response.

"It amazed me that they told me the timeliness of the response and so the citizens of the community here should be very proud of that," Tennessee Guard's adjutant general.

Maj. Gen. Haston visited the two wounded soldiers at The MED.

One of many witnesses near the scene of the Armory shooting was FOX13 News Good Morning Memphis anchor Ernie Freeman, who was taking part in a charity golf tournament at the Glen Eagle Golf Course on the Millington naval base.
 
"We really didn't know what to do," Freeman said in a video clip posted on Facebook. "We were on hole number nine. They finally came out and told us all to go in the club house here, and everyone that is in the golf tournament went inside. So it was a tense few moments not sure what was going to happen. Finally we got the news that the shooter was detained and was in custody and were finally able to get back on the golf course."

Others in Millington were shocked at the initial news of a shooting near the naval base. Some, still nervous about the base's security.

Store owners near the base saw police and fire crews rush by, sirens blaring shortly before 1 p.m. A lot of Millington residents had friends and family on the base calling them, telling them an employee who was fired was able to return to the base with a gun.

This news left an uneasy feeling in their minds.

"If they can get on the base, especially after they let him go, you'd think they'd take his ID so he couldn't get back on. Maybe there was a breakdown in communication. It bothers me," said Florence Conant, Millington resident.

"I can't say that it's normal for Millington because I think Millington ... we've had our issues out here but overall I think it's still a pretty quiet and safe town," added Virginia Young, owner of C & V Variety Store. "I still feel safe here."

Millington Mayor Terry Jones told FOX13 News the base and local law enforcement conducted a drill with this sort of scenario in June. This recent training put the city's law enforcement in position to respond so quickly today, and the mayor hopes others are impressed as well.

FOX13 News reporters Matt Gerien, Kristin Tallent, Sarah Bleau and Associated Press reporter Adrian Sainz contributed to this story.

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