The Latest: Officer in theater attack thought he'd been shot

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Posted: Aug 06, 2015 6:29 PM
The Latest: Officer in theater attack thought he'd been shot

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (AP) — The latest on an attack at a Nashville-area movie theater (all times local):

6 p.m.

The Nashville police officer who first engaged a disturbed homeless man inside a movie theater says he heard pops that sounded as if they came from a small-caliber gun and felt pressure on his face. He initially thought he'd been shot.

Officer Jonathan Frith told reporters Thursday that he was just doing his job when he encountered 29-year-old Vincente David Montano, who attacked a movie theater with a pellet gun, an ax and pepper spray.

"If you're the first guy there, you're going in," said Frith, a Marine who served in combat.

Frith said when he thought he had been shot, he fired at what he described as a "silhouetted figure," and backed out of the theater door. He and other officers kept Montano contained until SWAT officers arrived.

Montano was fatally shot by several officers as he tried to escape out the back door of the theater.

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4:45 p.m.

A police spokesman says the mother of a homeless man was visiting a relative about 30 miles from Nashville when she called police, worried about her son.

Spokesman Don Aaron said Thursday that the mother had just arrived in Mufreesboro to visit a relative. She said she hadn't seen or heard from her son in three years.

Police went to a homeless shelter on Monday to check on Vincente David Montano, but he wasn't there. Shelter officials said they hadn't seen him since May.

Authorities say he attacked people in a movie theater on Wednesday with an ax, pepper-spray and a pellet gun.

He was killed by police.

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4:15 p.m.

A man who was fatally shot by police after wielding a realistic-looking pellet gun, an ax and chemical spray at a Nashville-area movie theater had checked in at a homeless shelter in the city earlier this month.

The Nashville Rescue Mission said in a statement Thursday that Vincente David Montano had registered at the downtown men's facility on Monday, but that there is no record of him staying the night. Montano had previously checked in at the facility in May, but also was not recorded as staying the night.

Police said Montano's Tennessee-issued photo ID had shown the address of a women's shelter operated by the Nashville Rescue Mission about 2 miles away.

Police said Montano had a long history of mental illness, and had been committed at least four times.

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3:50 p.m.

A police spokesman says the homeless man who attacked people at a movie theater had a canister of propane, lighter fluid and a lighter and may have intended on setting off an explosive device.

Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said Thursday that the attacker made a gash on the canister of propane, rending it useless.

Aaron said a man was with his daughter and wife in the theater when Vincente David Montano started attacked the women with pepper-spray. The man intervened and he was wounded by an ax that Montano was carrying. Montano also had a pellet gun. He was killed by police.

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10 a.m.

Police reports from 2004 show that the man who attacked moviegoers in a Tennessee theater had a long history of mental problems, with his mother telling officers in one case that he heard voices telling him to do things.

Vincente Montano's mother called police for help at least twice in 2004. In February of that year, Denise Pruett told officers he was destructive and broke a coffee table and jewelry box. Police took Montano to a mental hospital for an evaluation, though the results of that are unclear.

In September of that year, police returned after the mother and son had an argument over him not mowing the lawn. It was decided that Montano would fly to Chicago because of his mental problems.

"He refused to leave until he would eat a pot pie and he obtained a plastic fork which I attempted to take away from him at which point he flailed his arms wildly toward me, placing me in imminent fear for my safety," an officer wrote.

Montano was arrested.

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7:50 a.m.

Just two days before an attack at a Nashville-area movie theater, the mother of the man police say is responsible told police he was missing.

According to a missing persons report, Denise Pruett, the mother of 29-year-old Vincente David Montano, contacted police in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Monday. She told them her son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in April 2006.

The report says she said she had not seen him since March 2013. The report also says that in May 2015, authorities in Texas contacted her and said she needed to file a missing persons report in Murfreesboro. But it does not specify why Texas authorities were concerned he was missing or believed he was in Tennessee.

The Murfreesboro report says Pruett brought with her a copy of a Tennessee identification card for Montano that listed an address for Nashville Rescue a homeless shelter. The report lists his address as "homeless" and says he "has a hard time taking care of himself."

Attempts to reach Pruett through phone numbers listed for her and other messages have been unsuccessful.

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3:37 a.m.

What initially appeared to be another mass shooting at a movie theater is beginning to look more like the last desperate act of a severely disturbed homeless man who may have had no intention of harming large numbers of people — but perhaps knew he himself could be killed.

Police say the 29-year-old man identified as Vincente David Montano bought a ticket for "Mad Max: Fury Road" in southern Nashville and entered with pepper spray, a pellet gun and an ax. He fired the pepper spray at several people in the audience before a police officer summoned by other theatergoers confronted him. Montano was shot dead by a SWAT team as he tried to escape out of a back door.

Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron says Montano had been treated at least four times for psychiatric issues.