Man Who Shot Sailor Dead at Norfolk Naval Station Was Violent Felon Who Served Time for Manslaughter
Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, who was previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter and crack cocaine possession, is said to be responsible for the death of Officer Mark Mayo. (NY Daily News)
How does this happen?
The man who murdered a 24 year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2008.
Hampton Roads reported:
A 35-year-old truck driver with a troubled past walked onto a U.S. warship Monday night, grabbed a guard’s gun and used it to kill a sailor who tried to intervene.
Jeffrey Tyrone Savage had taken a life once before.
Now investigators are trying to figure out how someone with a violent criminal record and no known business with the Navy gained easy access to the service’s largest base – home to half the nation’s fleet of aircraft carriers and dozens of other ships.
The Navy publicly identified Savage on Thursday and released new details about the shooting. The incident, along with Savage’s background, raises questions about a credential commonly used by civilians to gain access to military installations. The breach also calls into question standard security procedures at Norfolk Naval Station.
Savage flashed a valid transportation worker credential to drive his 2002 Freightliner cab onto Norfolk Naval Station around 11 p.m. Monday. He used the same card to walk through another security checkpoint at Pier 1 before climbing aboard the guided missile destroyer Mahan.
On the quarterdeck, Savage stripped a gun from the petty officer of the watch – a sailor charged with guarding the ship while in port. Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo, a base security guard who was patrolling nearby, saw the struggle and rushed to intervene. Mayo, 24, was shot while pushing the guard to the ground in an effort to protect her. Mayo and other naval security forces returned fire, killing Savage.
Investigators do not believe the assailant knew anybody aboard the Mahan and wasn’t a regular visitor to the base. The Navy has ruled out terrorism as a motive.
Savage had been in and out of prison over the years, according to court records.
While driving on Interstate 85 in Charlotte, N.C., in 2005, Savage got into an argument with a passenger, Maurice Griffin, also from Hampton Roads. The two men struggled for control of a gun. Griffin was shot and killed and dumped on an interstate ramp, according to a summary of the case.
Savage returned home to Portsmouth. He was later arrested and sent to North Carolina. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was locked up for more than three years before being released in 2009.
Prior to that, he served five years in federal prison for possession with intent to sell crack cocaine in Virginia.