Nashville Metro Police Describe Theater Attack, Killing of Suspect

Press release from Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Aug. 5, 2015:

Theater Active Shooter Suspect is Vincente David Montano

The active shooter suspect killed by Metro police officers as he attempted to flee the Hickory 8 theater off Bell Road Wednesday afternoon is identified as Vincente David Montano, 29, whose Tennessee identification card, issued on June 15, 2015, lists an address of 1716 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard. Montano’s identification was confirmed through his fingerprints, which were compared to those taken during a 2004 arrest in Murfreesboro.

Montano is believed to have been homeless. The police department is researching his background. He has no arrest history in Nashville, but was charged with assault and resisting arrest in Murfreesboro 11 years ago. Montano had mental health issues and was committed to an institution at least three times while residing in Murfreesboro. He is reported to have lived in a number of states over the years, including Missouri, Texas, Alabama, Illinois, and Florida.

Montano, armed with an ax and a pistol, and carrying two duffle/backpack type bags, attacked persons who were in an auditorium to watch the film Mad Max. One man received a laceration to his shoulder from the ax. That man’s wife and daughter were doused in the face with pepper spray. Witnesses at the theater ran to nearby police officers who were working a crash on Bell Road. Those officers immediately headed to the theater as they radioed the information to dispatch. That was at 1:13 p.m.

South Precinct Officer Jonathan Frith, a six-year veteran, was the first officer to encounter Montano as he entered the auditorium showing Mad Max. Montano pointed his pistol at Frith and pulled the trigger, prompting Frith to fire one round from his patrol rifle in defense of himself. Frith then backed out of the theater and worked to keep Montano contained inside as SWAT officers responded. It was during this time that Montano is suspected of filling the theater with chemical spray. Officers reported encountering a cloud as they entered in an effort to bring Montano into custody. Montano engaged SWAT officers inside the theater for several minutes, pulling the trigger of what turned out to be an airsoft pistol that closely resembled a semi-automatic pistol. As Montano’s gun popped, sounding like a small caliber pistol, four SWAT members fired. Montano, wearing a surgical mask, ultimately attempted to flee out the rear door of the theater. As he emerged with ax in hand and started toward officers, five opened fire. Montano was hit and died at the scene, 41 minutes after officers were first made aware of the attack on theater goers.

The backpack/duffel bag Montano carried over his chest contained a hoax explosive device and was rendered safe by the MNPD’s Hazardous Devices Unit. The other backpack contained nothing harmful.

SWAT officers who fired on Montano in the theater are identified as:
• Special Response Team/SWAT Sgt. Jason Duncan, an 18-year police department veteran;
• East Precinct/SWAT Lt. Jeff Sanders, a 20-year police department veteran;
• Special Response Team/SWAT Officer Jonathan Frost, a 9-year police department veteran;
• SWAT Officer Brian Gregory, a 13-year police department veteran.

Officers who had taken up position at the rear of the theater and fired on Montano as he emerged with ax in hand are identified as:
• South Precinct Officer Steven Carrick, a 2-year police department veteran;
• North Precinct Officer Justin Fox, a 16-year police department veteran;
• South Precinct undercover detective Lee Davis, a 4-year police department veteran;
• South Precinct undercover detective Kevin Choklad, a 3-year police department veteran;
• North Precinct Officer Michael Parman, an 8-year police department veteran.

The officers who fired their weapons are on routine administrative assignment pending completion of the preliminary investigation.