TN National Guard shooting prompts commander’s concern, salute | News
In an unclassified letter dated Friday, October 25, 2013 to “Soldiers, Airmen, State Employees and Families of the Tennessee Military Department,” the top brass of the Tennessee National Guard expresses admiration for courage and deep concern about a workplace shooting in Millington, TN.
“Yesterday was a tough day in the Tennessee National Guard,“ wrote the Adjutant General who commands Tennessee’s 15,000 guardsmen, Major Gen. Terry M. Haston. Read the full letter here.
Authorities say SFC Amos J. Patton opened fire on his commanding officers on Thursday, October 24th as they were in the process of firing him.
Reliable sources confirm Patton went to his car during the session at the Paul Summers Tennessee Army National Guard Armory in Millington and obtained a computer bag and fanny pack. When Patton returned, he requested a trip to the restroom. When Patton’s commanders ordered him to leave the computer bag behind, sources say Patton wheeled around, removed his weapon from the fanny pack and started firing a semi-automatic 380 pistol.
Maj. Jeff “Kip” Crawford suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh yet managed to wrestle Patton and keep the weapon aimed down. The bullet entered and exited Crawford’s leg, thus causing two wounds with the one shot.
Major Gen. Haston wrote, “Crawford went above and beyond normal actions in a situation such as this. He displayed enormous amount of courage in the face of possible severe injury,” the commanding officer noted.
SGM Rick McKensie was shot in his foot during the burst of gunfire and LTC Hunter Belcher suffered a slight arm wound.
The trio of soldiers was rushed to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis where they were treated and later released. Millington Police received the call at 12:33 p.m.
Major Gen. Haston's letter declares Crawford, McKensie and Belcher “heroes among us” along with others who helped resolve the crisis.
The commander named MSG Kathy Lewis, SSG Tremaine Spencer, SFC Anthony Jones, SSG Ernest Moore and SGT Sean Hart as those who helped subdue Patton and end the crisis.
“What I am most concerned about is the memories and the anxiety that this incident has created throughout our force,” Haston wrote.
The General rallied his troops.
“Now is the time to talk to your Wingman or Battle Buddy,” the letter said.
“We MUST not fail to do our jobs for fear of events such as this,” the Major General. “However, we must all be more aware and conscious of our surroundings and events taking place,” Haston wrote.
The commander wrote that he believes God was watching over the soldiers during the workplace shooting and encouraged thoughts and prayers not only for the victims but also the shooter’s loved ones.
“Also please keep the family of SFC Amos Patton in your thoughts and prayers,” the letter said. Patton appeared before a federal judge in Downtown Memphis on Friday afternoon. The veteran National Guard recruiter now faces a laundry list of federal charges as a result of the shooting and could face 20 to 30 years in prison if convicted.
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