LOBELVILLE, Tenn. – A 15-year-old boy has been charged with criminal homicide for Wednesday's fatal shooting at the U.S. National Guard Armory in Perry County.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested Christopher C. Farrar Wednesday night. He was charged early Thursday with one count of criminal homicide in the shooting death of 45-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Michael W. Braden, of Ripley.
Investigators said Farrar somehow gained access to the armory, which is usually locked, and fired several shots around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. One of the shots struck Braden.
He was transported to Perry County Medical Center, where he later died as a result of his injuries.
Farrar was taken into custody without incident around 9 p.m. Wednesday at his family's home on Depriest Bend Drive. Very little was immediately known about the suspect, but the TBI said Farrar was being homeschooled after he was expelled from a Springfield area school for a drug offense.
Investigators said they recovered several weapons from inside the teen's home and were working to determine whether or not one of the firearms was used in the shooting.
Maj. Gen. Terry "Max" Haston, who oversees the state's National Guard, said no extra security protocols were planned because he believes "security policies are pretty good as they are."
"I put out a memorandum this morning to all of our armories to ensure that we continue to do the policies that we already have in place," he said.
The motive and other circumstances surrounding the incident remained under investigation. It was not immediately clear if Farrar targeted Braden, or if he was shooting at random.
Perry County Sheriff Tommy Hickerson said he knew Braden well.
"He [the victim] was a good friend of mine, and we're not going to stop until we find the person who did this and we take this serious," he said during a press conference Wednesday night.
Hickerson said this was the worst crime he has seen in the area since he became sheriff four-years-ago.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam extended his condolences to the Braden's family on Thursday afternoon:
“Sergeant Braden was a 27-year veteran of the Tennessee Army National Guard, and it’s a tragic day when we lose a decorated hero who has served his country so well. Crissy’s and my thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jennifer, and their three children during this difficult time.”
Authorities searched for hours, locking down big stretches of nearby roads, following the shooting at the facility on Highway 13 North in Lobelville. Residents were urged to use caution during the search.Josh DeVine, the Public Information Officer for the TBI, said a neighbor reported hearing several gunshots fired from inside the building.
Elizabeth DePriest lives just across the street from the armory. She said while she didn't hear any shots, she saw the police activity when she walked outside.
"There were enough people over there that were well-armed," she said ."There wasn't a need for us to be scared."
Farrar was being held without bond at the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center.
Officials said the armory would reopen as soon as the TBI concludes its investigation.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)