55th SFS team responds to fatal shooting


6/1/2004 - OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (ACCNS) --  Members of the 55th Security Forces Squadron disarmed a gunman and prevented additional injuries during a fatal shooting here May 23.

The shooting, between two employees of carnival company Blues Amusements, occurred on the last day of the bases annual Summer Carnival in the parking lot of the youth center.

This incident truly shows how diversely, yet seamlessly, the 55th SFSs mission is carried out on a daily basis, said Chief Master Sgt. Greg Hollingsead, 55th SFS manager. Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers combined to bring this intensely hostile situation to a peaceful conclusion.

According to 55th SFS officials, bike patrolmen Senior Airman William Roeck, Airman 1st Class Casey Kohlmeier and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua McDaniel responded to the sound of gunfire, as did Airmen 1st Class Jeffrey Besserclick and Leanne Geren, who were on foot patrol.

Although off duty and unarmed at the time, security forces Senior Airman Alfred Moore and Army Specialist Joshua Meinders, a member of the Nebraska Army National Guard augmenting the 55th SFS, were also alerted by the shots fired and responded to protect carnival attendees.

When they arrived at the scene, the security forces team saw one man lying on the pavement motionless and a second man, still armed, standing over him. The gunman immediately pointed the gun at the security forces members, Chief Hollingsead said.

The SF members, with weapons drawn, and sights fixed on the gunman, faced the ultimate decision to shoot or not to shoot, he said. Their outstanding instincts and superior training proved their weight in gold ... they didnt shoot because of the innocent bystanders in the background.

According to witnesses, although security forces members ordered the gunman to drop his weapon several times, he refused to do so and eventually turned the gun on himself.

In an effort to ease the situation, the security forces members lowered their weapons slightly, according to the chief. The gunman then lowered his weapon and Specialist Meinders bravely tackled the subject, knocking his weapon from his hand, said Chief Hollingsead.

While Airman Moore secured the gunmans weapon, several of the security forces members restrained and handcuffed the man who was later turned over to local sheriffs deputies.

Petty Officer McDaniel performed first aid and CPR on the victim, who was later flown to a nearby hospital via helicopter. The man was pronounced dead a short time later.

The county sheriffs office is investigating the incident.