Volunteer civilian "guards" have been kicked off the grounds outside a military recruiting center in Lancaster, Ohio, after one of them accidentally fired his weapon.
No one was injured.
"Listen, it was a mistake. No one was injured and I owned up to it immediately with the police," 28-year-old Christopher Reed, who is accused of firing the shot, told the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette. "I'm glad no one was hurt. I am willing to take the punishment."
His gun was confiscated pending a court appearance next week.
Armed volunteers have been turning up at military recruiting centers since the shooting deaths of four marines and a sailor last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They say they want to protect recruiters, who are not armed.
“They won’t give these guys any weapons to carry or keep in a safe. If we don’t do it, who is going to do it?" armed volunteer and Marine veteran Kenneth Casteel, who had been keeping watch over the recruiting center where the shot was fired, told the Columbus Dispatch prior to the incident. "It’s a matter of safety.”
Reed was apparently trying to clear the ammunition in his AR-15 rifle when he accidentally fired a shot into the ground, according to WCBE, an NPR station in central Ohio.
"I was out here and was talking to a guy who wanted to look at my AR-15," Reed told the Eagle-Gazette. "I was trying to clear the weapon and hand it over to him when it went off. I thought it was empty and must have missed it."
The bullet left a mark in the pavement.
Reed has been charged with accidental discharge in city limits. The Dispatch said he was convicted of the same offense in 2013, and paid a $50 fine.
He told the paper he is a "gun enthusiast."
“I’m nobody special,” he told the Dispatch. “I’m just a guy doing my job because my own government wouldn’t do it.”
After the incident, U.S. Properties Group, which owns the strip mall where the recruiting center is located, asked local police to "escort all armed civilians from our property," according to WBNS-10, the local CBS station.
Volunteers were angered by the order to keep away.
"If something happens here and hopefully it don't and if it does I hope they hang the people who own the place," Castelle told Fox 28.
Officials had previously asked that armed volunteers keep away from the recruiting centers around the country.
"While we greatly appreciate the support of the American public during this tragedy, we ask that citizens do not stand guard at our recruiting offices," Capt. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps public affairs officer, told the Associated Press. "Our continued public trust lies among our trained first responders for the safety of the communities where we live and work."
(h/t Raw Story)
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