A soldier at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas “saved countless people” when he rammed his car into a man who opened fire at drivers on a bridge on Wednesday, the police chief said.
Traffic was moving slowly early on Wednesday across the Centennial Bridge, which connects Kansas and Missouri, when the shooting began. At about 11 a.m., a man stopped his vehicle on the bridge, got out and started to fire at cars “with no particular association,” said Chief Pat Kitchens of the Leavenworth Police.
The soldier, 34, was in the car behind the gunman, and when he saw what was happening he drove into the attacker, trapping him under his car, the chief said.
“What was a very, very dangerous situation fortunately was ended quite quickly,” Chief Kitchens said at a news conference on Wednesday. He added that “very likely countless lives were saved” when the soldier intervened.
The gunman was injured and taken into custody, and there was one gunshot victim, who was also a soldier at the Army installation, the chief said. The two were taken to the hospital and were in serious but stable condition Wednesday. Two cars were struck by gunfire, but the people inside those vehicles were not hurt, he said.
“This was an active shooter with multiple weapons on the bridge firing at cars,” he said in the news conference. “The person was simply randomly firing at vehicles as they passed by.”
Chief Kitchens did not identify the soldier, the gunshot victim or the gunman, describing the person 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 presented to prosecutors. He said the police had asked the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. for assistance in the investigation.
The gunman had a handgun and a semiautomatic weapon, the chief said. He did not give further details about a possible motive or whether the gunman had a criminal history. He said the authorities had responded to calls about a possible “road rage” incident that was taking place.
He said in the interview that the gunman had been crossing from Kansas to Missouri, and had been among the drivers stopped in the single lane while oncoming traffic was allowed to pass from the Missouri side.
The Kansas Department of Transportation had a work project on the bridge on Wednesday and was letting cars pass in alternating lanes, Chief Kitchens said. The Centennial Bridge, spanning almost a half-mile, connects Leavenworth, Kan., with Platte County in Missouri.