Savannah, Ga. A former Army soldier seeking help for mental problems at a Georgia military hospital took three workers hostage at gunpoint Monday before authorities persuaded him to surrender.
No one was hurt, and no shots were fired in the short standoff at Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart, about 40 miles southwest of Savannah, said fort spokesman Kevin Larson. Military officials said the hostages were able to calm the gunman and keep him away from patients.
Military police arrested the gunman, who was being questioned Monday afternoon. His name was not immediately released.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, a senior Fort Stewart commander, said the former soldier was seeking help for mental problems that were “connected, I’m quite certain, to his past service.”
“He hadn’t gotten the care that he wanted and he wanted it now,” Phillips said, based on what one of the hostages had told him.
The suspect walked into the hospital’s emergency room at about 4 a.m. carrying two handguns, a semiautomatic rifle and a semiautomatic version of a submachine gun, Phillips said. He took a medic hostage and headed to the building’s behavioral treatment wing on the third floor.
An Army psychiatric nurse spotted the gunman and approached him to talk, Phillips said. That nurse was then taken hostage along with a behavioral health technician who refused to allow the gunman through a locked door to the patient area.