29-year-old Vincente Montano was fatally shot by a SWAT team while wearing a surgical mask and wielding a hatchet, pepper spray and an Airsoft pellet gun inside a Tennessee movie theater Wednesday afternoon, police said, the Tennessean reports.
Montano, who had a history of arrests and commitments for mental health issues in recent years, went to a 1:15pm “Mad Max: Fury Road” showing at the Carmike Hickory 8 theater in the Nashville suburb of Antioch, said Police spokesman Don Aaron.
Aaron said out of the seven people that were watching the movie, a 58-year-old man suffered a superficial hatchet wound to his shoulder before a SWAT team killed the suspect.
Fire department spokesman Brian Haas said three people, including the 58-year-old, were treated at the scene for exposure to pepper spray used by the suspect, but no one was taken to a hospital.
Police were called to the Carmike Hickory 8 movie theater complex in the Nashville suburb of Antioch at 1:13 p.m. CT.
Aaron said one officer came into the theater and was fired at by the suspect by an Airsoft-style gun that shoots plastic BBs, which was unbeknownst at the time by the officer. The officer shot back, then backed off.
A SWAT team then came in, where they exchange more gunfire until the suspect exited out the back door of the theater where he was confronted by more police officers who shot and killed him by 1:54 p.m.
Bomb squad were called to the scene to clear two suspicious backpacks the attacker left inside the theater.
Authorities detonated the bag the suspect was wearing after finding a suspicious device later identified as a fake bomb, or “hoax device”, inside. The second bag at the back of the theater is still being examined.
Montano had been arrested on an assault charge in 2004. He had been committed for mental health care a total of four times, in 2004 and 2007, and he had also been reported as a missing person Aug. 3.
A Murfreesboro police missing person report says that Montano’s mother said Montano was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2006. The woman told police she had not heard from her son since 2013, but thought he might be near Nashville because of an address on his ID card. He is listed as homeless on the report.
The woman told police her son “had a hard time taking care of himself.”
Eric Vale, 32, said he was an Uber driver dropping off passengers in the Nashville theater parking lot when shots rang out. He described the scene as “utter chaos.”
“I just couldn’t believe this was happening again,” he said, according to USA Today.
Jeremy Cardoza, who works at Ford Ice Center nearby, said his business was immediately put on lockdown with no one being allowed to enter or to leave. About 25 people, mostly children, were inside.
The incident comes less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire inside a movie theater in Lafayette, La., killing two people and injuring nine others before committing suicide.
It also comes a day after Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula released an online video calling for “lone wolf” attacks and praising the 24-year-old Chattanooga gunman, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who killed five service members three weeks ago before being fatally shot by police.