Navy veteran stands guard at Ocala recruiting center
Move comes after attack in Tennessee
OCALA, Fla. – Following last week's attacks at military recruiting facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, veterans now are standing guard across the country.
[MORE: Local 6's original report ]
Some are armed with rifles, and the trend has spread to Central Florida, where one veteran is sitting down ready to defend the men and women inside a Marion County center.
"Who is going to protect the protectors?" asked Navy veteran Stirling Wright.
"Being former military, former law enforcement, there is always that comrade and it angered me to the point that I said, 'This has got to stop,'" said Wright.
Wright is talking about last week's attack in Chattanooga. Five members of the military were killed at recruiting centers. A gun battle with police soon after left the 24-year-old shooter dead.
"Is this your way to channel your frustration and your anger?" asked Local 6's Sheli Muniz.
"It's the safest way," said Wright.
So, 480 miles away, for nine hours, Wright sits outside of an Armed Forces Recruitment Office in Ocala keeping watch. He volunteers without anyone asking him. On Tuesday, his 19-year-old son joined him, also unarmed.
"Oh, people tooting, waving, and I've had people come by and say, 'Thank you.' I'm like, 'OK, I didn't wash your car,'" Wright said when asked how receptive people have been toward it.
When asked if he's armed, he said, "You know, the best tool that you could ever have is your mind, and so you look for things that are out of place and you act accordingly, so if someone decides to act stupid, we match it and then we double it," answered Wright.
There have been similar sights across the country in Alabama, Tennessee and New Hampshire, where other vets are protecting their fellow brothers and sisters.
A posting on the Local 6 Facebook page read, "We are standing guard at all of our recruitment offices in Daytona Beach."
"It's them. They're the ones that need the 'thank yous,' Wright said. "I'm still appalled that they have to lock their doors while they're in there."
On Tuesday, Local 6 found the Ocala Air Force recruiting office was closed, the Navy office was locked throughout the day, while the Marines office was unlocked.
What does the Navy think of Wright outside its office?
In a statement emailed to Local 6, Jeffrey G. Nichols, Public Affairs Specialist, NRC Public Affairs Office, wrote:
"We appreciate the support from the citizens in our communities, however we work closely with local law enforcement to ensure safety of our Recruiters. For any questions concerning civilians please contact local law enforcement ."
Wright said he will keep watch at the Ocala center for a total of five days - one day for each service member lost in Tennessee.
Just this weekend, Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered National Guardsman to be armed and moved their recruiters to armories.
Investigators in Chattanooga are trying to get inside of the mind of the gunman. They are poring over pages of notes left behind by Muhammad Abdulazeez. Sources told CBS News that he wrote about how he was influenced by images of death in the Middle East. His family said the 24-year-old man was depressed and on medication.
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