A soldier at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas “saved countless people” when he was riding his vehicle in a man who opened fire on drivers on a bridge Wednesday, police said.
Traffic was moving slowly early Wednesday across the Centennial Bridge, connecting Kansas and Missouri, when the shooting began. Around 11 a.m., a man stopped his vehicle on the bridge, exited and started firing at cars “without a specific association,” said Chief Pat Kitchens of Leavenworth Police.
The soldier, 34, was in the car behind the gunman, and when he saw what was happening he urged the attacker, who swept him under his car, the chief said.
“What was a very, very dangerous situation was fortunately resolved very quickly,” Chief Kitchens said at a news conference on Wednesday. He added that “probably countless lives were saved” when the soldier intervened.
The gunman was injured and taken into custody, and there was a gunshot victim, who was also a soldier in the Army installation, the chief said. The two were taken to the hospital and are in serious but stable condition Wednesday. Two vehicles were struck by gunfire, but the people inside those vehicles were not hurt, he said.
“This is an active shooter with many weapons on the bridge firing on cars,” he told a news conference. “People are simply firing at vehicles as they pass by.”
Chief Kitchen did not identify the soldier, the gunman or the gunman, who describes this year as a resident of Platte County in Missouri.
He said in an interview on Thursday that the gunman was in the hospital and that possible charges would be brought to prosecutors. He said police questioned the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. for investigation assistance.
The gunman had a handgun and a semiautomatic weapon, the chief said. He did not elaborate on a possible motive or whether the gunman had a criminal history. He said authorities were responding to calls about a possible “angry road” incident.
He said in the interview that the gunman had crossed from Kansas to Missouri, and that among the drivers had stopped at the same line as incoming traffic was allowed to pass from Missouri.
The Kansas Department of Transportation had a project on the bridge Wednesday and allowed cars to pass through alternate lanes, Chief Kitchens said. The Centennial Bridge, which covers about half a mile, connects Leavenworth, Kan., With Platte County in Missouri.