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Threats trigger lockdown at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi

Base security personnel at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi detained a suspected armed man Wednesday morning after threats he allegedly made to co-workers triggered a lockdown at the Texas installation, officials told Navy Times.

“He was a suspected armed gunman,” said air station spokeswoman Fifi Kieschnick. “He’s now in the custody of base security. No shots were fired. No injuries were reported. There is no known connection between this morning’s incident and other incidents around the country.”

She said that the unnamed man is no longer on the base.

Shortly after 7:30 a.m., Naval Air Station Corpus Christi ordered the base locked down and all personnel to shelter in place. By 7:47 a.m., however, the base’s social media accounts said they had "a suspect in custody.”

At 10:01 a.m., Corpus Christi Police Department officials said the lockdown had lifted, adding that they didn’t respond to the incident.

Later in the afternoon, Navy officials released a prepared statement saying that base security responded to reports that an employee at the Corpus Christi Army Depot inside the air station made verbal threats about other workers there.

After apprehending the suspect for questioning, security forces swept the area. After deeming the incident over and the installation safe, they reopened the gates to normal traffic, according to the statement.

“I am relieved to report no one was injured,” said Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Commanding Officer Capt. Chris Jason in the statement. “The safety of our employees and families, and of our surrounding community, is my top priority.

"We are keenly aware of the recent incidents at other naval installations and we train diligently to respond to such situations. I am very proud of the prompt response from our Navy and Army Security Forces, and I am grateful for the outstanding support provided by local and federal law enforcement.”

It wasn’t the first lockdown at the base this year.

In October, the air station shut down when officials said a person who was possibly armed made it onto the grounds.

In February, base security shot to death a man who crashed a stolen SUV through a gate there.

But the latest lockdown arrived in the wake of three Navy tragedies.

On Nov. 30, a civilian man driving a pickup truck breached a gate at Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story before striking a Navy police cruiser and killing a sailor inside. He’s been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

That was followed by a Dec. 4 shooting spree at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, when Machinist’s Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero, 22, opened fire, killing two Department of Defense workers and wounding a third before taking his own life.

Two days later, Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani opened fire on Naval Air Station Pensacola classroom, killing three sailors and injuring eight more before he died in a shootout with law enforcement officers.

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi’s Naval Aviator training program produces hundreds of fixed-wing jet and turboprop aircraft aviators for the Navy, Marine Corps and partner and allied military forces.

This is a breaking story and Navy Times will keep updating it. Our latest update noted that the lockdown had ended.

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