PORTSMOUTH -- The civilian gunman believed to have killed a sailor aboard the destroyer Mahan on Monday night before being fatally shot is Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said Thursday.
Savage, 35, from Portsmouth, drove his 2002 Freightliner through Gate 5 just after 11 p.m., proceeded to Pier 1, left his truck and attempted to board USS Mahan (DDG 72), the Navy said in a press release.
He was confronted by ship security personnel who ordered him to stop. A struggle occurred and Savage was able to disarm the petty officer of the watch. Savage then used the weapon to fatally shoot Mayo and attempted to fire at other nearby security personnel.
Mayo was serving as chief of the guard at Naval Station Norfolk and was in the vicinity of the Mahan. Mayo immediately came to render assistance to personnel on Mahan and engaged in gunfire with Savage. Other security forces shot and killed Savage.
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The Navy says Savage, an employee of Majette Trucking, did have a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential. A TWIC alone does not authorize base access, it must be used in conjunction with other documents to gain authorized entry. The NCIS investigation has confirmed that Savage had no reason or authorization to be on Naval Station Norfolk. The chain of events that allowed Savage entry to the installation and the ship are under investigation.
Savage did not appear to have served in the Navy and his motivation for storming the Mahan’s quarterdeck and attacking the petty officer of the watch remains unclear, two sources said.
Savage had been in and out of jail, court records show. Savage was charged in the 2005 shooting death of Maurice Griffin in Charlotte. They were driving from Georgia to Virginia when they fought over a gun. Savage shot Griffin and left his body on the roadside.
Court records say prosecutors planned to seek the death penalty against him if he didn't settle the case with a guilty plea. Savage entered a guilty plea in 2008 and was released from prison at the end of 2009.
Previously, Savage served for five years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md., on a felony conviction for selling crack cocaine.
Senator Mark Warner says he plans to ask some "tough questions" of the U.S. Navy following the incident.
Warner told 13News Now he's concerned abut the use fo the TWIC card and he thinks there should be increased scrutiny of people who have access to military installations.
Warner plans to grill Navy on base security after Norfolk shooting