Police killed a man armed with a gun and a hatchet after he attacked patrons at a movie theater outside Nashville, Tennessee, during a showing of Mad Max: Fury Road on Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect was tentatively identified as a 51-year-old white man who’s believed to be a local resident, police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The attack comes just weeks after another gunman killed two women at a showing of Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Aaron said that two police officers happened to be responding to a crash nearby when people approached them to tell them that there was a gunman inside at Carmike Hickory 8 Cinemas in Antioch.
“Those officers ran to the scene,” Aaron said. “One of the officers entered the theater. He encountered the gunman.”
He continued: “The suspect raised his weapon toward the officer and pulled the trigger.”
The officer fired at the suspect and then left the theater. As he was exiting, a SWAT team arrived on the scene, having been summoned by a 911 call, and engaged the gunman. He was killed as he emerged out of the rear door of the theater.
The suspect had been carrying two backpacks, Aaron said, “one on him, another that was left in the theater.”
The Hazardous Devices Unit was called in to check the bags and found something suspicious in the first one that was on the suspect. “They are not comfortable with what they are seeing,” said Aaron. “That backpack will be detonated by the bomb squad.”
They have not yet checked the second bag inside the theater.
Aaron went on to praise the officer who entered the theater for his bravery. “The actions of that first officer who went into that theater may well have saved [lives],” he said.
Apart from the gunman, three people – two women and a 58-year-old man – received minor injuries. “The man had a cut to his shoulder, evidently having been hit with the hatchet,” Aaron said.
All three patients had been “blasted with pepper spray,” said Aaron. They are expected to make a full recovery.
Earlier, Brian Haas of the Nashville Fire Department told reporters that three people were treated for injuries sustained in the attack.
“We have only treated three patients for pepper spray exposure,” he said. “We believe that the pepper spray came from the assailant. One of those three was also treated for a superficial wound that could have been caused by a hatchet.”
However, he said that the wound was not severe. “It appeared to be not much more than a bruise.”
He concluded his comments by crediting police with their swift response. “They did a darn good job on this,” Haas said.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.
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