Crime

Police: Inside man’s truck were loaded guns, extra bullets. Workers stopped Kentucky attack

Lexington couple tracks gun violence nationwide

Mark and Sharon Bryant run Gun Violence Archive, a website based in Lexington which fills a real-time information gap left by government, law enforcement and academic researchers.
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Mark and Sharon Bryant run Gun Violence Archive, a website based in Lexington which fills a real-time information gap left by government, law enforcement and academic researchers.

A possible mass shooting at a factory was thwarted by two employees and two Springfield police officers responding to a trespassing complaint.

Matthew R. Smith, 37, faces several charges after he was found Monday with multiple guns and made statements to police indicating “he was planning to conduct a mass shooting inside LB Manufacturing,” the department said in a Tuesday Facebook post. Smith also said he had been “analyzing the building layout to include entrances/exits, approaches, and even the air vents on the roof,” according to police.

Police responded to LB Manufacturing over a report of a suspicious vehicle trespassing, according to court records. An employee had tried to confront the driver in the parking lot, but the driver refused to leave, police said Tuesday. That employee told his supervisor to call police.

When Assistant Chief Joe Templeman and Capt. Tony Golden approached Smith in his pickup truck about 4 p.m., Templeman said he asked for Smith’s name and Smith “began making furtive movements in the vehicle and asked” for the officer’s badge number, according to an arrest report filed in court.

Smith, of Willisburg, refused to give his name and did not step out of the vehicle when Templeman asked, according to police. The assistant police chief opened the driver’s door and noticed a Glock handgun in Smith’s hand about the same time Smith began raising it toward Templeman’s chest, according to court records.

Templeman was able to grab the handgun, pass it to Golden and wrestle Smith to the ground, Smith’s arrest citation stated. Smith began to reach for the front of his waistband, where police found another handgun, court records showed.

After Smith was handcuffed, Templeman and Golden found another Glock strapped to Smith’s ankle; a possibly modified and fully automatic AR-15 in the front passenger seat with a 40-round magazine; and another .380 rifle under the AR-15, according to court records. Smith had fully-loaded magazines for each weapon, and the five weapons were fully loaded, the arrest citation stated.

Smith “appeared to have been planning an active shooter situation at LB,” Templeman said in court documents. “All handguns located on his person or nearby were fully loaded with a round in the chamber ready to go. Subject was raising the handgun towards my person (which was loaded, round in chamber) and would have shot if I had not been able to take it from him in time.”

A Springfield Police Department photo of the confiscated firearms was released Tuesday, and it showed eight guns in total were recovered.

Smith told police he was trying to find a woman at LB. He believed the woman was being trafficked. He told police he “brought what he needed to get the job done,” police stated in the arrest citation.

Smith has been charged with wanton endangerment of a police officer, resisting arrest, attempted murder and criminal trespassing. He was taken to the Marion County Detention Center.

The AR-15 assault rifle is commonly used in mass shootings in the United States. Here's a closer look at likely reasons why. CREDIT: The New York Times

“It is commendable that our officers were quickly able to apprehend this suspect professionally to divert what could have been a tragedy,” Springfield Mayor Debbie Wakefield said in a statement.

The Federal Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is assisting in the investigation, and federal charges for firearm violations and other offenses are possible, police said.

Springfield Police Department Chief Jim Smith commended the two employees who reported Smith’s allegedly suspicious activity.

“Too many times, people have seen something and didn’t report it,” Smith said in a Facebook post. “Not this time. These two are heroes in my book. See something, say something.”

It was the second time this fall a possible mass shooting was stopped by police with help from a citizen. In October, Dylan Jarrell, of Lawrenceburg, was charged after police found evidence that a “threat was credible and imminent” to Shelby and Anderson County schools, Kentucky State Police said.

According to police, Jarrell was stopped in his driveway by law enforcement after New Jersey mom Koeberle Bull reported to state police he allegedly was harassing her children via Facebook. Police said they found an AR-15, over 200 rounds of ammunition, a Kevlar vest, a 100-round high capacity magazine and a detailed plan of attack.

Jarrell said in a manifesto he would be the next school shooter of 2018, police said, but his attorney said there was no actual proof Jarrell was going to carry out the attack.

Although some shootings have been prevented, many mass killings have occurred in 2018. In January, a student allegedly carried out a mass shooting at Marshall County High School where two students died and nearly two dozen others were wounded or injured.

On Monday, the day Smith was apprehended in Kentucky, three were killed at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital. The gunman also died, police said.

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