A suspect faces federal charges in South Carolina federal court after he was shot upon allegedly entering Shaw Air Force Base illegally on Dec. 23.
Angelo Brown, 54, is accused of failing to stop for law enforcement, second-degree assault and battery, assaulting federal officers, entering military property and possessing a dangerous weapon in a federal facility, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Dec. 24.
He is in custody at the Lexington County Detention Center, west of the state capital of Columbia, FBI spokesperson Kevin Wheeler said Wednesday.
Brown, an Army veteran who retired as a private first class, held a valid military ID card and was allowed to visit Shaw as needed.
“The on-duty officer at the gate advised that Brown started making a ‘rapid utterance in an aggressive tone,’” the criminal complaint said. “Brown mentioned sex slave trafficking and kid sex slaves and told the guard that he was ‘laced,’” or intoxicated.
While waiting for the gate guard’s supervisor in a side lot, Brown told the airman that he had a knife and BB gun in his car. Brown was banned from carrying firearms after he was convicted of failing to stop for law enforcement in 2002, according to the complaint.
Brown then sped away and made it through the gate’s security barrier before it could fully deploy. Base officers intercepted him at a traffic circle about a mile from the entrance, the FBI said.
The man left his car to scream at security forces for a few minutes, throwing his electronic car key away from the vehicle, according to the report. He then got back into the running car, threw it into reverse, and hit an airman with his open door.
The base guard fell backwards but was not injured, the report said. Brown fled.
“The officers took … cover around Brown’s vehicle,” the criminal complaint continued. “Brown … walked to the rear of the car and pulled what appeared to be a firearm from the backseat of the vehicle.”
He ignored commands to drop the rifle and continued to talk about sex trafficking. Security forces called for a negotiator at the scene, but the situation escalated before one could intervene.
Brown pointed the rifle at the airmen, prompting an airman assigned to Shaw’s 20th Security Forces Squadron to shoot and injure him, the report said.
“Officers immediately rendered aid to Brown at the scene,” the FBI said. “Brown told officers that he didn’t want help and that he wanted to die. Brown made a statement about the officers needing to ‘get them girls from Columbia.’ He also threatened to take one of the officer’s guns and shoot him with it.”
The FBI later found that Brown’s pellet gun “did not fit the definition of a working firearm,” the criminal complaint said. His knife’s blade measured 6 1/2 inches. Law enforcement also found what they believed to be crack cocaine in his car.
Brown was taken to a hospital in stable condition and later released into federal custody.
“There is no indication that this isolated incident is related to terrorism or any other violent extremism, and there is no threat to the general public,” said Wheeler, the FBI spokesperson.
The FBI’s Columbia field office and Air Force Office of Special Investigations are jointly investigating the incident. Brown could face more than 10 years in prison if convicted.
Shaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. The base is home to F-16 Fighting Falcon jets, MQ-9 Reaper attack drones, and the Air Forces Central Command and U.S. Army Central headquarters.
Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times as senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), the Washington Post, and others.