A soldier based at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leavenworth thwarted a potential mass shooting Wednesday by striking and injuring a suspect with his vehicle, authorities said.
The service member, identified only as a 34-year-old active-duty soldier based nearby, was behind the unidentified suspect in traffic on a bridge that connects Kansas and Missouri when the suspect got out of a vehicle and opened fire, Leavenworth police Chief Pat Kitchens said.
“We learned that this was an active shooter with multiple weapons on the bridge firing at cars,” Kitchens said.
Law enforcement in Leavenworth, Kansas, responded to Centennial Bridge, which spans the Missouri River and connects Kansas and Missouri, based on reports of shots fired about 11 a.m., police said.
The suspect had a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun, he said. The soldier rammed the suspect with a vehicle.
“He intentionally intervened using his vehicle to strike and injure the suspect who was actively shooting,” Kitchens said. “Very likely countless lives were saved by the person that intervened and helped.”
The suspect was pinned under a vehicle when first responders arrived, according to the chief. Another active duty service member was struck by gunfire, but no other injuries were reported, Kitchens said.
Police don’t believe that service member was targeted for any particular reason, the chief said. Both the injured were hospitalized in serious but stable condition, he said.
At least two vehicles were hit by gunfire, but those inside were uninjured, the chief said. The suspect’s motives were unknown, but investigators were planning on combing through the person’s home and vehicles, he said.
Witness Austin Menzel told NBC affiliate KSHB of Kansas City, Missouri, that the soldier who intervened is a “hero.”
“I’m glad that somebody did something about it,” he said.