Shots fired at RAF Mildenhall after ‘car tries to ram gate’
PUBLISHED: 14:46 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:12 18 December 2017
RAF Mildenhall was placed on lockdown this afternoon after a “significant incident” in which shots were fired by American service personnel.
Suffolk police said they were called to “reports of a disturbance” at around 1.40pm.
Reports are saying a car tried to ram the checpoint barriers at the entrance of the US airbase.
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.”
The spokesman added: “Police are continuing to deal with an ongoing incident at RAF Mildenhall, it is considered that there is no wider threat to the public or occupants on the base.
“One man has been arrested and police are not looking for anyone else on the site.”
No other police forces are thought to be involved in the incident at this stage.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police was unable to confirm whether the matter was being treated as terrorist-related.
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.”
‘At moments like this it is important to reiterate how strongly we support our friends’
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.
“We await further details, and I have the utmost trust in the professionalism of the servicemen and women at the base to protect us and to defend our national security.
“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 Jumppin 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.
“Additional details will be provided as they become available. Individuals in the area surrounding the installation are asked to avoid the base at this time.
“We ask that individuals avoid posting messages on social media regarding the incident.”
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.