The nation has been rocked by multiple mass shootings in recent months, sparking renewed calls among progressive politicians and pundits for stricter gun control legislation.
This week at a Texas airport, however, a police officer was able to rush in and stop the suspected gunman in his tracks, potentially saving many lives.
“A lot of ammunition and a big handgun”
According to Fox News, the armed subject began shooting randomly outside of a terminal at San Antonio International Airport when he was confronted by an officer on the scene. A short time later, authorities declared: “There is no active threat to the public.”
The unidentified suspect drew the attention of the police at around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday after he was reportedly spotted driving the wrong way outside of Terminal B, ABC News reported.
Police say the situation escalated when the gunman retrieved a .45 caliber pistol and started firing at the terminal. An officer on overtime duty confronted him and returned fire, according to reports.
The suspected shooter was transported to an area hospital where he was declared dead. One victim was reportedly injured by shrapnel and another was hurt while attempting to flee the scene.
According to Fox, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus praised the effort for his efforts to stop a potentially catastrophic situation, stating:
What we had there was the start of an active shooter incident. The officer who stopped this individual saved a lot of lives. The shooter had a lot of ammunition and a big handgun that he was shooting indiscriminately. So my hat goes off to the officer who stopped him.
“We believe that is the same person”
The officer has since been identified as 41-year-old John Maines, an 11-year veteran of the force who was placed on administrative duty while the incident is investigated. As a precaution, the airport was briefly placed on lockdown.
As for the suspect, he was identified as a man in his 40s who was known to police and believed to have a mental illness. The FBI said investigators have no reason to suspect terrorism was a factor.
According to reports, an autopsy showed that the suspected gunman had a self-inflicted gunshot wound, suggesting that he shot himself after being injured by the officer. Police say the subject was likely the same man who terrorized civilians at an overpass earlier the same day.
“The exact same description, and pretty much the exact same shell casings were found, so we believe that is the same person,” McManus noted.
There were no injuries reported in the earlier incident.