NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — An on-base shooting that left one sailor dead has prompted the Navy to begin prohibiting delivery drivers who have a felony conviction in the past 10 years from coming onto any of its bases from North Carolina to Maine, officials said Monday.
The Navy has said a civilian truck driver who was a convicted felon managed to get onto Naval Station Norfolk, walk onto a guided-missile destroyer and disarm one sailor and use her gun to shoot and kill another sailor who rushed to her defense.
Killed in the shooting was 24-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo, of Hagerstown, Md. Navy officials have said there's no indication the attack was planned or had any link to terrorism.
The civilian, Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, had a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential that could have gotten him onto the base, but the Navy has said he lacked supporting documentation that would have authorized him to be there the night of the shooting, such as documents indicating he was there to pick up something. Savage was killed by Navy security forces shortly after shooting Mayo.
The Navy said Monday that the sentry at the gate Savage drove through has been placed on administrative leave.
The shooting has drawn widespread attention to the TWIC program, which is administered by the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA prohibits people convicted of certain crimes from having a TWIC card, but only those convicted of espionage, sedition, treason or terrorism are ineligible for a waiver.
Savage's criminal record includes pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Charlotte, N.C., in 2008 for shooting a friend in a car and leaving his body on the side of an interstate. Prosecutors originally charged Savage with murder and intended to seek the death penalty if he didn't plead guilty to the lesser charge. Savage's criminal history also includes possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
The order issued by the commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic also prohibits anyone who uses a TWIC card from coming onto its installations if the person has had a misdemeanor conviction within the past five years for crimes of violence; larceny; drugs; habitual offenders; and conviction for sex offenses.
Under the new rules, the Navy is now checking the National Crime Information Center database for any criminal history or outstanding warrants that are grounds for denial to the region's installations. Beth Baker, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, said several drivers have been turned away since the new security measures were put into place Thursday, but exact numbers weren't readily available.
The Navy is still investigating why Savage was allowed to drive onto the base and walk onto the pier where the USS Mahan was moored. The Navy is conducting a criminal investigation as well as a separate one focused on what went wrong the night of the shooting.
The Navy has said Savage never served in the Navy and didn't have a prior relationship with anyone serving aboard the Mahan.
The Navy is planning to hold a memorial service for Mayo at Naval Station Norfolk on April 7.
Brock Vergakis can be reached at www.twitter.com/BrockVergakis