Suspect charged with Nat'l Guard Armory shooting - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Suspect charged with Nat'l Guard Armory shooting

Patton served as a recruiter for the Army National Guard for nearly 20 years. Patton served as a recruiter for the Army National Guard for nearly 20 years.
Patton was ordered to be held without bond. Patton was ordered to be held without bond.
Patton served as a recruiter for the Army National Guard for nearly 20 years. Patton served as a recruiter for the Army National Guard for nearly 20 years.

(WMC-TV) - The suspect in the National Guard Armory shooting in Millington was charged with assault of federal property and carrying and using a firearm during a federal crime of violence.

Investigators accuse Sergeant First Class Amos Patton, 42, of Cordova of shooting his commanding officers and grazing a third officer in the armory Thursday.

Patton served as a recruiter for the Army National Guard for 14 years. Before the shooting, Patton's bosses had called him into the armory. They notified him that he was being relieved of duty, recommended for a reduction in rank, and recommended for separation from the active guard reserve because of "misconduct." Officials would not elaborate on Patton's misconduct.

According to the FBI, Patton went to his car in the midst of his meeting and retrieved government-issued gear to return it. When he came back to the meeting he had a fanny pack, which he previously did not have.

An Action News 5 reliable source says he took a semi-automatic 380 pistol out. The guardsmen shouted "gun." Our source says Patton emptied his weapon and fired seven to 10 shots at his commanding officers. The officers jumped on Patton and wrestled him while managing to keep the gun down.

The gun fired at Maj. Jeff Crawford striking him in the thigh; he has an entrance and exit wound. A bullet hit Sgt. Maj. Ricky R. McKenzie in the foot. Lt. Col Hunter Belcher was grazed by a bullet right below the knee, according to the National Guard. All victims were sent to the Regional Medical Center (The MED) to be treated for their injuries, but they have since been released.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Todd McCall says the struggle did not last more than a minute.

"It could've been far worse than it was, but we had some very attentive National Guard personnel that were able to take control of this situation and prevent a huge tragedy," said McCall.

Patton served in the Guard for 14 years.

Patton's wife and his court-appointed attorney declined comment on the way out of court. Patton was ordered to be held without bond. A bond hearing is set for Wednesday.

Patton was arrested in 1997 on a different assault charge. Major Gen. Terry M. Haston wrote a letter to the victims' families, you can read about it here.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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