A man who entered an Antioch, Tenn., movie theater Wednesday afternoon, brandishing a gun and a hatchet, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with Nashville Metro Police SWAT.
Police said the gunman, tentatively identified as a 51-year-old local white male, was also carrying two bags and sprayed pepper spray throughout a theater showing Mad Max: Fury Road.
The shots fired call came in to police around 1:15 p.m., and officers responded within minutes.
Metro police spokesman Don Aaron told WSMV TV two South Precinct officers were working a crash nearby on Bell Road and ran to the movie theater. One of the officers entered the theater and encountered the gunman.
Aaron said the gunman raised his gun and pulled the trigger. The officer returned fire and backed away.
Police said the gunman was wearing a surgical mask, possibly to deal with the effects of the pepper spray. Gas masks were brought to officers because the theater was thick with the spray.
A Metro SWAT Team had set up at the back door of the theater. When the gunman came out of a door, officers engaged and fatally wounded him.
Aaron said they were “not comfortable” with the contents of the two bags carried by the gunman and they would be destroyed. At least one of those bags was detonated just before 4 p.m.
Nashville Fire Department spokesman Brian Haas said two women were injured from exposure to pepper spray. A man suffered superficial injuries to his shoulder, possibly from the hatchet.
One of the victims, who was only identified as Steven, briefly spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon. He thanked Metro police for their quick response and thanked citizens who helped him and his daughter when they were pepper sprayed.