Man who shot sailor was convicted felon

A civilian gunman accused of killing a sailor aboard a destroyer at Naval Station Norfolk had at least two felony convictions, including one for voluntary manslaughter, the Navy said Thursday.

Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, 35, of Portsmouth, Va., had not served in the Navy, and his motivation for storming the USS Mahan's quarterdeck late Monday remains unclear, according to the Navy Criminal Investigation Service.

"The NCIS investigation has confirmed that Savage had no reason or authorization to be on Naval Station Norfolk," an NCIS press release said. "The chain of events that allowed Savage entry to the installation and the ship are under investigation."

Savage, who worked for Majette Trucking of Rich Square, N.C., used his valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential to drive a 2002 Freightliner cab onto the world's largest Navy base at a little after 11 p.m. ET Monday. He parked the truck, walked onto Pier 1 and boarded the USS Mahan.

The petty officer of the watch noticed him behaving erratically. When she approached him, a scuffle ensued and he was able to grab her weapon.

Savage is accused of using this weapon to fatally shoot Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo, who dived in front of the sentry after Savage took her weapon. Mayo, 24, of Hagerstown, Md., was chief of the guard for the guided-missile destroyer.

Subsequently, another security officer on the USS Mahan shot and killed Savage. Military officials said Thursday that autopsies had been performed on both bodies but that it could be weeks before results are provided to investigators.

Results will include a toxicology report indicating whether Savage was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Transportation worker credentials allow maritime workers unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels. The cards are commonly issued to truck drivers, employees of the Navy Military Sealift Command, merchant mariners and other employees who work at a commercial port.

The TWIC program was created after Sept. 11, 2001, as a way to strengthen security at commercial ports and other sensitive areas. But the program recently has been called into question because many bases, including Norfolk, don't have the electronic readers to access detailed biometric information embedded in the card.

Instead, at many bases it is used as a photo ID. But additional papers proving a need to access a military base are necessary before a cardholder is supposed to be allowed on base, according to a Defense Department directive.

Savage had to pass through at least three levels of security before gaining access to the USS Mahan, including the Gate 5 guards, the sentry on Pier 1 and the Mahan quarterdeck watch. The Navy said Wednesday that it has opened up a second investigation into improving security at the base, where about 46,000 service members and 21,000 civilian government employees and contractors serve.

"We need to look at these TWIC ID cards," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Thursday after he learned new details on Savage's base access. Military officials "said a year ago they were going to improve their security" after the Sept. 16 Washington Navy Yard shooting in which a contractor killed 12 and injured three others.

Those who have TWIC cards must provide personal and biometric information and pass a Transportation Security Administration threat assessment check. The credential is valid for five years.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment