Navy Base Access Denied to Dozens in Wake of Fatal Shooting

New policy denies dozens access to Navy base New rules have denied access to dozens in wake of the fatal shooting on Norfolk’s Navy base. As reported by the Navy, over the last three weeks 48 people have been denied access to bases in at least four states. Under the new rules, anyone with a misdemeanor in the past five years or a felony in the past 10 years for certain crimes will be denied base access. Yes, even those who have identification credentials.

The March 24th fatal shooting of a sailor aboard the USS Mahan was carried out by a 35-year-old ex-convict who should have never had access to enter the Navy base. Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, the civilian truck driver who committed this crime at the world’s largest naval base, was a convicted felon. Records show in 2008 Savage was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in North Carolina. He also spent time in prison for drug possession with intent to distribute.

Before killing Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo, the truck driver drove onto the Norfolk Naval Station, walked onto a pier and then the ship’s quarterdeck. Savage disarmed the sailor who was guarding the ship and then with the sailor’s weapon fired shots that killed Mayo. Savage was eventually killed in a shootout on the ship by Navy personnel.

Savage worked for Majette Trucking which is based in Rich Square, North Carolina. Records show the trucking company has four trucks and four drivers who carry refrigerated goods. Majette Trucking is licensed for interstate business.

Savage gained access to the base because he possessed a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). At that time, those who committed certain crimes were prohibited from having a TWIC card but the crimes Savage had been convicted of did not fall under any of those offenses.

In the wake of the shooting, the commander in charge of Navy installations for the greater portion of the East Coast issued new rules. If these rules had been in place prior to the killing Savage would not have been allowed access onto Naval Station Norfolk.

In the first three weeks of the new rule being implemented bases in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Virginia have denied access to several people. The most denials recorded have been in Virginia Beach at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. This base is home to amphibious ships that transport Navy SEAL teams and marines; 21 out of 98 denials were among TWIC card users.

With the new policy in place, the National Crime Information Center database is checked for any outstanding warrants or criminal history which would be considered grounds for denial. A Spokeswoman for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Beth Baker, said the background checks can add increased wait times anywhere from five minutes to two hours for TWIC card holders to gain entry.

The recent shooting at Norfolk’s Navy base has led to new rules which determine who is allowed on base. Dozens of transportation workers have been denied access because of their criminal histories. Under the new policy, access for TWIC card holders with a misdemeanor conviction within the past five years for crimes which include sex offenses, violence, drugs, habitual offenders and larceny are also denied.

By:  Cherese Jackson (Virginia)

Sources:

Virginia Pilot Online
NY Daily News
Times Dispatch

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