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Man with gun provokes lockdown at Arizona air base

By Reuters
Friday, September 16, 2011 20:13 EDT
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TUCSON, Ariz (Reuters) – Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in southern Arizona was on lockdown because of a “potential security situation” after a man was spotted with a weapon near a dormitory, authorities said on Friday.

The base, on the outskirts of Tucson, said in a statement that no one had been detained, no shots had been fired and no one had been hurt.

Tech Sergeant J. Russell Martin said the base was put on lockdown after “unconfirmed reports” of an armed man seen near a dormitory.

The man was “seen with a weapon, what that weapon was we don’t know. But it is our duty to investigate. As such we are keeping the safety and security of our people in the highest regard,” Martin told reporters, speaking at a news conference carried by Tucson’s KVOA television station,

“I cannot confirm if he was a civilian or a military member. I can confirm that he went to an old dormitory,” he added.

Earlier on Friday, the Air Force Base had declared a “higher state of security,” but officials said no shots had been fired and “no one has been hurt.”

The Davis-Monthan base, which is about five miles southeast of downtown Tucson, is home to the U.S. Air Force’s 355th Fighter Wing.

The scare at the base came after the Pentagon earlier this month raised the alert level as U.S. military bases to guard against any Al Qaeda plot timed for the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Potential domestic threats to U.S. military facilities were also highlighted by a fatal shooting spree at a Texas military base two years ago, when an Army psychiatrist opened fire on a group of soldiers.

Major Nidal Malik was charged with the rampage at Fort Hood in November 2009 that killed 13 people and wounded 32 others, among them troops preparing to deploy to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is due to go on trial next March.

Martin said two schools were among facilities that were on lockdown at Davis-Monthan while the incident was investigated.

(Reporting by David Schwartz and Molly O’Toole; Writing by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

Photo by Unietd States Air Force [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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