Friday, June 19, 2015

TOP STORY >> Base safe after incident

By Arlo Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Base security forces engaged an armed suspect who attempted unauthorized access to the base gate on Monday.

The FBI identified the suspect as Larry McElroy, who passed away Tuesday at an off-base hospital. The suspect crashed his vehicle into a light post in front of the base’s Vandenberg Gate, began to exit his vehicle with a weapon and approach 19th Security Forces Squadron personnel. After the subject failed to comply with the Defenders’ commands to lower his weapon, they engaged the subject and took the proper measures to deter the threat.

The base was on lockdown for less than three hours as base security forces conducted a thorough sweep of the base to ensure the safety of personnel and their families.

The base commander said the daily vigilance of everyone in the Team Little Rock community is critical to safeguarding the base, especially in a crisis situation. 

“When incidents like this happen, our first instinct is ensuring the well-being and safety of our Airmen, their families and our community members. Our security forces Defenders are on the front line every day personifying our vigilance. I can’t be more thankful for their service and dedication to protecting our base and community,” said Col. Charles Brown Jr., 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander. 

“We exercise these scenarios with the 314th Airlift Wing, 189th Airlift Wing and 913th Airlift Group partners, and that training was put to the test,” the colonel said. “From reporting suspicious activity to following lockdown procedures, teamwork across the base was vital in our incident response.”

Post-lockdown security operations were a true team effort as the 189th Security Force Squadron sent two fire teams to augment post-lockdown operations. 

“We requested the 189th’s assistance to perform vehicle searches at the Arnold Drive and Harris Road Gates. It was a smooth transition; they integrated seamlessly, “said Senior Master Sgt. Walter R. Watkins, 19th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. “Their help was a force multiplier that gave us more manpower to manage traffic flow around base after the lockdown was lifted. It allowed us to concentrate our efforts on securing the incident scene and supporting the investigation.”

Base Explosive Ordnance Disposal team members conducted the search on the subject’s vehicle; the Little Rock Fire Department Bomb Squad assisted in responding to the suspect’s home; both were negative for explosives.

The incident is a joint investigation with the Little Rock Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Jacksonville Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI. 

The FBI is the lead agency in the ongoing investigation, and all questions regarding the subject and incident should now be directed to their staff at 501-217-2633.

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