RAF Mildenhall incident not terror-related - police
PUBLISHED: 19:05 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:13 18 December 2017
The incident which sent RAF Mildenhall into lockdown and saw guards open fire is not being treated as terrorism, police have confirmed.
Suffolk police were called to the United States air base at around 1.40pm today, with reports that a car had tried to ram the checkpoint barriers at the entrance and guards had fired shots.
A 44-year-old British national has been arrested, initially on suspicion of criminal trespass, and Suffolk police this evening said it was not being treated as terror-related attack.
A spokesman for the police said: “The base was put into lockdown and units responded immediately.
“Shots were fired by American service personnel and a man has been detained with cuts and bruises and taken into custody.
“No other people have been injured as a result of the incident.”
Later, a spokesman said: “The male, who sustained cuts and bruises in the incident, has been taken into custody. Police are not looking for anyone else on the site in relation to the incident.
“There is no wider threat to the public or occupants on the base and no other people have been injured as a result of the incident.
“The incident remains a police investigation at this time and enquiries are on-going and police are receiving support from other law enforcement agencies.
An RAF Mildenhall spokesman posted on Facebook at just after 3.30pm that the lockdown had been terminated and “operations are returning to normal”.
It added: “We’ve concluded our combined US-UK response to this incident and we are continuing to support local authorities in the ongoing investigation.”
United States Air Force spokesperson said: “We’ve concluded our combined response to this incident and we are continuing to support local authorities in the ongoing investigation.”
West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock MP said of the events: “Following this incident I have been in contact with the base and Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and I am being regularly updated to developments at RAF Mildenhall
“At moments like this it is important to reiterate how strongly we support our friends - American and British - who work and live on and around the base at Mildenhall.
“They defend our freedom and our values. The warmth of our welcome and the strength of our resolve will not be diminished, but instead enhanced, by incidents like today’s.”
Shortly before 3pm, around 20 minutes after news of the incident first broke, two businesses on the base confirmed they were no longer on lockdown after the security alert.
A member of staff at Jumpin Jacks Funhouse in Mildenhall told the Press Association: “All the American children playing here suddenly left, but we didn’t hear anything or know why.
A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said: “The security incident has been contained and a suspect has been apprehended.”
A statement put onto the RAF Mildenhall Facebook page earlier this afternoon said: “RAF Mildenhall locked down at 1pm today following reports of a disturbance on base. The base was locked down and emergency personnel are responding to the situation.
The base has previously been identified as a potential target for terrorists.
In May 2016, Junead Khan was given a life sentence at Kingston Crown Court for planning a strike against American military personnel in Britain.
Khan, of Luton, used his job as a delivery driver to scout bases including Mildenhall and nearby RAF Lakenheath the previous year.
The 1,162-acre base, which houses about 3,100 US military and an additional 3,000 family members, is set for closure in 2024 after the US said it was going to move is operations from the base to Germany.