On December 6, 2019, a terrorist attack occurred at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. A member of the Royal Saudi Air Force methodically began shooting and killing members of the U.S. Navy as they were reporting for classes. Prior to the intervention by members of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, the assailant succeeded in killing three service members.
Deputies Jonathan Glass and Matthew Tinch were the first to arrive. In the exchange of gunfire with the assailant, both deputies were wounded—Deputy Glass in the upper arm and Deputy Tinch in the knee. After shooting the deputies, the assailant continued to systematically shoot into offices, wounding eight other civilian and naval personnel as he proceeded to the second floor.
Deputy Abelardo Lopez entered the building and exchanged gunfire with the assailant at close range in a stairwell. He struck the assailant twice in the upper chest before his firearm jammed. Deputy Lopez then sought cover as he attempted to clear his weapon as the assailant continued to fire in his direction. Sergeant Michael Hoyland, Deputy Matthew Housam, and Deputy Matthew Keebler entered the building through the front entrance as Deputy Lopez sought cover. They were armed with two long guns and semi-automatic handguns and immediately fired at the assailant from a distance of over 30 yards. They exchanged gunfire and fatally wounded the assailant.
The courageous actions of Sergeant Hoyland and Deputies Housam, Keebler, Lopez, Tinch, and Glass to respond to this active shooter and engage him quickly ended his ongoing assault of personnel within the Naval Air Station. Without their decisive actions, additional personnel in and around the facility would have been at risk of serious injury or death.