Citing security risks, the Pentagon on Friday asked armed volunteers to stop guarding military recruiting stations following the deadly Chattanooga shootings that left five service members dead.
“While we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for our recruiters from the American public, we ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks,” Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement Friday, The New York Times reported. “We continue to partner with and rely on first responders for the safety of the communities where our service members live and work.”
Armed civilians have been showing up at military recruitment centers across the country in an effort to protect typically unarmed service members following the July 16 attack at a center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that left four United States Marines and a member of the Navy dead.
The statement said Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was reviewing recommendations to improve security at all facilities, including recruiting stations, The Times reported.
A Defense official said the plea was spurred by an “accidental weapons discharge” from a civilian weapon outside a recruiting station in Lancaster, Ohio, on Thursday.
“We felt it was prudent to issue this statement in order to help potentially prevent other incidents like this from occurring,” the official told The Times. “The absolute last thing we want is to see any other loss of life.”
The man in that case was charged with a misdemeanor after accidentally discharging an AR-15 rifle outside a recruiting center in the River Valley Mall, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
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