The Pentagon asked Friday that armed citizens not stand guard at military recruitment centers in response to the deadly Chattanooga, Tenn. attacks that left five dead.
Across the country armed citizens have positioned themselves outside military facilities following the July 16 shooting that left four Marines and a Navy petty officer dead at a military training center. While the military ordered increase security at facilities across the nation, local residents — many veterans — did not want to leave the issue of security up to policy makers. But already there’s been one accidental weapons discharge.
The Pentagon said recommendations are being reviewed that will make military installations and facilities, including recruiting stations, safer. In the meantime, the Defense Department ask that armed citizens go home because they could cause problems.
“While we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for our recruiters from the American public, we ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.
Among those trying to protect recruitment centers is a group calling itself “Tennessee III Percent.” With the permission of the property owner, members have been standing outside a Morristown, Tenn. recruitment center for days, some armed with sniper rifles and handguns.
“We’re here to protect them so they can protect us,” said Bobby Hickson, a member of the group.
At the same time, Christopher Reed, 28, accidentally fired his AR-15 rifle while standing guard at a recruiting center in Lancaster, Ohio. No one was hurt. He was charged with discharging a firearm in the city limits, a misdemeanor. The property owner, U.S. Properties Group Portfolio Four LLC, ordered the volunteer army to leave.
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