One dead, one injured in domestic dispute on Hurlburt Field
By JIM THOMPSON | Northwest Florida Daily News | Published: July 25, 2020
HURLBURT FIELD (Tribune News Service) — One person is dead, and another is injured and has been taken to a local hospital, in connection with a domestic disturbance involving gunfire that erupted late Friday afternoon at Hurlburt Field, headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command.
The incident prompted a shutdown of the installation to all but essential personnel for a time late Friday afternoon into early Friday evening.
The Air Force is withholding identification of the deceased until after the next of kin has been notified, and a news release from the 1st Special Operations Wing, host unit at Hurlburt Field, did not identify the person taken to a local hospital. The news release also did not include any information on the injuries sustained by the person taken to the hospital.
The incident, now under investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, began unfolding at about 4:30 p.m, according to 2nd Lt. Janell Venerable, public information officer for the i1st SOW, host unit at Hurlburt Field.
Following initial reports of a domestic disturbance on the installation, Hurlburt Field was placed on a lockdown, which was lifted early in the evening after an "all clear" was issued to base personnel.
The "all clear" came after Hurlburt Field military security personnel and local civilian law-enforcement officers had secured the scene of the incident, which apparently occurred on Grimm Lane in the on-base housing section of the installation.
Word of the reported disturbance began leaking out of the base late Friday afternoon, as the base command post sent a message to all Hurlburt Field personnel reading, in part, that the installation was"closed due to an armed disturbance."
The message went on to notify "(e)veryone in the area of Grimm Place (to) shelter in place." The message was an apparent garbled reference to the installation's Grimm Lane, located west of the base entrance off U.S. Highway 98.
Base security forces responded to the domestic disturbance, and were later joined by local civilian law-enforcement personnel.
An initial news release from the 1st SOW said the domestic disturbance involved an "active shooter," but gunfire was apparently limited to the domestic dispute.
According to Michele Nicholson, public information officer for the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the office's special response team and its crisis negotiation unit responded to the Hurlburt incident.
1st SOW public affairs personnel will be updating information on the incident throughout the evening, according to Venerable, via the Hurlburt Field page on Facebook and through news releases.
Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn, commander of the 1st SOW, used her Facebook page, 1st SOW Commander, on Friday night to address the incident.
She expressed condolences "to all affected by this senseless tragedy" and thanked base security personnel and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office for their "outstanding response."
Schermerhorn went on to write that the "1st Special Operations Wing "does not condone domestic violence" and works "to mitigate this needless violence through our on-base resources and programs that are offered to all Hurlburt Field members."
Schermerhorn closed her message with a note of thanks to the community "for your continued support of our airmen and families during this time."
The Daily News is continuing to work the story, and will update it as new information becomes available.
(c)2020 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.)
Visit the Northwest Florida Daily at www.nwfdailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.