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Prosecutor: Recruiter loses job, then wounds 3 National Guard members

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Image courtesy WREG/Candace McCowan via CNN.

By Greg Botelho

CNN

(CNN) — A National Guard recruiter who is accused of firing a gun in a suburban Memphis armory — right after being told he’d lost his position due to alleged misconduct — was charged Friday with a pair of counts that could land him behind bars for 30 years.

Amos Patton, a 42-year-old from Cordova, Tennessee, faces one count of assault and another of carrying and using a firearm in relation to a federal crime of violence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for western Tennessee announced Friday in a press release.

The release also detailed the circumstances surrounding Thursday’s shooting, which ended with several Tennessee Army National Guard members wounded and Patton in custody.

He had been asked by commanders to go to the National Guard recruiting center located in the armory in Millington, the U.S. Attorney’s office said, citing an affidavit filed along with a criminal complaint.

Once there, the commanders told Patton he was being relieved of duty and that they were recommending his rank be reduced and he be taken out of the active guard reserve “because of misconduct.” The prosecutor’s office didn’t say what that alleged misconduct was.

Patton was then told to return government-owned equipment thought to be in his government vehicle, according to officials.

A Tennessee National Guard member yelled out “gun” when he saw Patton accessing a “fanny pack” as he came back from the car, federal prosecutors said

A senior non-commissioned officer then tried to subdue Patton, who managed to get off a few shots — hitting three National Guard personnel in the room — according to the prosecutor’s office. Millington police Chief Rita Stanbeck had said Thursday that two people were shot, one in the foot and the other in the leg.

The suspect got away and ran, but not far. The officer was able to catch and hold him until Millington police arrived.

If convicted on the assault charge, Patton could be sentenced to as many as 20 years in federal prison. He could get another 10 years on the firearm charge.

The armory north of Memphis is on property leased to the Guard by the U.S. Navy, which has its personnel and recruiting commands across the road. The shooting prompted a temporary lockdown of the Navy compound.

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