Authorities hunt for man who fired near troops at base

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Law enforcement officials are on the lookout for a man who fired gunshots from a pickup near two troops standing guard at a military facility in southern Mississippi.

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No one was wounded in the Tuesday shooting, which occurred near a checkpoint at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center and authorities were quick to point out that the shooting took place outside the base perimeter.

“This incident occurred along the eastern edge of Camp Shelby. It did not occur on the base,” County Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith said at a news conference.

When asked whether it was an intentional shooting or possibly something like a hunting incident, Smith said it was not known.

Earlier reports that two people were involved proved to be wrong, he said.

“We are looking for a `90s model maroon pickup with black rims that sits low to the ground and one white male driver,” Smith said.

Smith said he has asked the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation for help. The FBI and the ATF have also been notified, he said.

Mississippi’s National Guard said the facility is secure and all personnel accounted for and unharmed.

The large military base south of Hattiesburg is one of the premier training facilities for National Guard troops from across the country and during the height of the Iraq war was often the last stop for National Guard troops training to go to the Middle East.

The base is currently hosting about 4,600 active-duty soldiers, National Guard and reservists from Texas and Mississippi in a summer training exercise.

This summer’s training focuses on teaching troops how to operate on the platoon level – generally about 30 soldiers to a group, although that can vary.

Camp Shelby officials also were hosting a field hearing Tuesday by the National Commission on the Future of the Army.

The commission is an independent, congressionally mandated panel directed to assess President Barack Obama’s recommendations for restructuring the Army’s active-duty and reserve component force structures.

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