A civilian police officer was standing guard at the gate to the world’s largest naval base, when a man pulled up in his truck. The man wasn’t required to produce his identification or give any reason why he was there as the police officer thought the man was going to make a U-turn. Instead, the man drove his truck straight onto the base, eventually parking it, motor running, near a pier where the USS Mahan and a hospital ship were docked. As soon as the man breached gate security, I would assume the police officer would notify security; however, neither pier security nor security on the ships was notified.
This all took place in 2014, but the Navy is just now completing their investigation of this incident. Identifying the driver of the truck as Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, investigators have reported that he had no legitimate reason to be on base, and even though the investigation is complete, Savage’s motive is still unknown.
At the time, the USS Mahan was undergoing maintenance, so it wasn’t uncommon to see a civilian on the pier. This enabled Savage to simply walk through a pedestrian gate onto the pier without being questioned. Ship security just assumed Savage to be a nonthreatening, intoxicated civilian mariner or worker with authorization to be on base.
Meanwhile, the civilian police officer at the gate, continued with his shift, actually checking identification for the next several vehicles that drove through the gate. It took 9 minutes for the police officer to go looking for Savage, in which he eventually found his abandoned truck. Still, the officer did not notify dispatch and returned to the gate that he was manning.
Savage wandered around on the pier, looking through several tool boxes, before he boarded the USS Mahan in a nonthreatening manner, saying that he “just wanted to talk.” He ignored several calls from military personnel to produce his identification, so a sailor drew her gun. Savage wrestled the weapon from the sailor, which was not secured by a lanyard as required. And, the sailor didn’t shoot Savage because she was unable to disengage the safety lock on the weapon.
Responding to the commotion, Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo ran onto the ship and jumped between Savage and the other sailor to protect her. Mayo was shot several times by Savage before Savage was shot and killed by Navy security.