Update: No gunman, gun found at locked down Air Force baseTUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The commander of an Air Force base in southern Arizona said Friday that no gunman or weapons were found after officials locked down the facility following unconfirmed reports of a gunman.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The commander of an Air Force base in southern Arizona said Friday that no gunman or weapons were found after officials locked down the facility following unconfirmed reports of a gunman.
Col. John Cherrie, commander of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on the outskirts of Tucson, said that officials were satisfied the sprawling base was safe after a “floor-by-floor, room-by-room” search.
Cherrie, who held a two-minute news conference to discuss the five-hour lockdown, didn't answer questions from reporters.
The lockdown at the sprawling facility was prompted by reports of someone with something that looked like a weapon, said Tech Sgt. Russ Martin. The reports prompted a frenzy of activity at the base and in the news media amid unsubstantiated reports that someone had been shot.
A military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing had told The Associated Press that a man with a gun was holed up in a building at the base.
No one was shot or hurt, but the base took extra precaution by locking the facility down and keeping children inside its schools. Students were eventually released around 4:30 p.m.
Sgt. Maria Hawke, a Tucson police spokeswoman, said base officials told the police department that the department's SWAT, bomb and hostage negotiation squads were no longer needed at the scene.
Hawke said she didn't know how the situation was resolved or whether any arrests were made.
Alison Bunnell, who lives at the base with her husband and their four children, was turned away during the lockdown when she tried to return to the base.
Bunnell said she was told that children at the base's schools were oblivious to what was going and were watching movies and eating snacks. She said she wasn't worried. “We have exercises all the time,” Bunnell said.
Davis-Monthan is near the Pima Air & Space Museum and the “boneyard” for old military and government airplanes that is a popular destination for aviation enthusiasts.
The base is the home of the 355th Fighter Wing, and provides attack airpower, combat support and medical forces, according to the base's Facebook page.
Security at military bases has gained more attention in the last two years since an Army major went on a rampage at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009. Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the shooting spree. Investigators have foiled other plots against military bases in other parts of the country since Sept. 11.
Associated Press writers contributing to this report include Mark Carlson and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington.