Gunshots fired by US security to stop intruder on UK airbase

RAF base Mildenhall UK
RAF Mildenhall base - United Kingdom - Photo by Bob Jones via Wikimedia commons

United States army soldiers fired shots this Monday in an attempt to stop a man who was trying to forcefully enter a UK military base that was used by the US Air Force. Police have since stated they are not treating the incident as an act of terrorism but instead that of trespass.

United States base personnel fired shots towards the British 44-year-old trespasser who was taken down by staff at the RAF base in Mildenhall.

The airbase was subsequently put into lockdown as the local Suffolk authorities looked into reports of what was referred to as a “significant incident”.

Officials said that the man only suffered cuts and bruises, being arrested following a brief pursuit. The vehicle the man tried to use to ram into the base was stopped by United States security staff.

The police stated that they had not determined any obvious motive but that there was no broader threat to the base or the public at large. The police confirmed they were not looking for any other suspects.

The man’s vehicle was eventually stopped just before running into a United States Osprey aircraft. The police stated there did not appear to by any major damage to the vehicle or the aircraft.

The Suffolk Police became aware of the trespass at roughly 13:40 GMT. They stated they did not know how many gunshots were fired but were sure that some were.

The police stated the man did not suffer any gunshot wounds and the injuries he did have would likely have been from being apprehended. There is now set to be an internal investigation by US security to determine why shots were fired on the base.

The RAF base at Mildehnhall is defended by police from the UK Ministry of Defence alongside United States guards, who are armed with guns.

The United States Air Force confirmed it was going to cooperate with British authorities to investigate the incident.

The base is primarily a transport centre for the US Air Force, occupied by a refuelling fleet of aircraft as well as some special operations personnel. It has roughly 3,200 army personnel with 400-500 civilians employed on site.

The Mildenhall base was one of a number of 56 Ministry of Defence bases marked for closure. Despite this, the United States Air Force declared it would not re-locate to a new German base until 2024.

The base had been a previous target for a terror plot against US Air Force personnel last year. In May 2016 a man was given a life sentence for plotting an attack against several bases such as Mildenhall.