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Jury comes back with verdict convicting Patton of Armory shooting in Millington

Star Staff Reports

Amos Patton

Amos Patton

MEMPHIS  — Last Thursday, a jury convicted a Tennessee National Guard recruiter Amos Patton for the shooting at the Tennessee National Guard Armory in Millington.
Patton was accused of opening fire inside the armory and wounding three people. The jury rejected the defense’s claim that Patton was trying to kill himself and started firing wildly when a soldier grabbed him from behind.
Authorities said Patton was angry after he learned he was being removed from his job because a female soldier had accused him of sexual assault. He pulled a gun from a fanny pack and began shooting on Oct. 24, 2013, wounding three of his superiors.
Patton, 43, was found guilty of nine charges, including four counts of assault with a firearm with intent to commit murder. He faces at least 20 years in prison when he is sentenced May 28.
Patton, who didn’t testify, showed no reaction when the verdict was read.
The jury deliberated for slightly more than two hours.
According to testimony, back in October 2013, Lt. Col Hunter Belcher informed Patton about an official recommendation to remove him from his job and reduce his rank from sergeant first class. The meeting came after an investigation of a sexual assault complaint.
The jury wasn’t told about the sex assault allegation. Defense attorneys and prosecutors agreed to leave out the sexual assault details because it was not relevant to the actual shooting. No criminal charges have been filed in relation to the allegation.
After the disciplinary meeting, Patton and two superiors went to his government-issued car outside the armory. They were going to drive back to Patton’s office, but Patton got a bag and a fanny pack from the car, then asked to go to the bathroom. Patton entered the armory but was told by Sgt. Maj. Christopher Crawford that he could not go into the bathroom with both items, according to testimony.
Patton then reached toward the fanny pack and pulled out a 9mm pistol. Crawford tried to restrain Patton with a bear hug and they fought. He fired six shots.
Sgt. Maj. Ricky McKenzie was hit in the foot. Maj. William J. Crawford was shot in the thigh as he went to help Christopher Crawford. The Crawfords are not related.
Patton ran outside after he was disarmed by the Crawfords. There, he came face to face with McKenzie, who pointed a gun at Patton. Moments later, Patton was subdued and arrested.

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