ANTIOCH, Tenn., Aug. 6 (UPI) — The ax-wielding man who ambushed moviegoers with a pellet gun and pepper spray was homeless and had a mental health disorder, Nashville Police said.
Vincente David Montano, 29 and homeless, was shot dead by police after he carried out the attack during a screening of Mad Max: Fury Road at the Carmike Hickory 8 Theater in Antioch, located some 10 miles outside of Nashville. Police said he had mental health problems and was committed to an institution at least three times. His mother said he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, a disorder that causes hallucinations and delusions.
Police said they are trying to determine the motive for the attack. Two days ago, Montano’s mother filed a missing person report with a nearby police department. She said she had not seen him since 2013. It is not clear why she filed the report now.
The chaos at the movie theater took 41 minutes and left Montano dead.
Witnesses told investigators Montano carried a hatchet and a handgun-looking weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun and had two backpacks strapped to his body, one with a hoax device, into the theater about 1:15 p.m. local time. In the ensuing minutes, he doused three people — a 53-year-old woman, a 17-year-old girl and a 58-year-old man — with pepper spray. The man was struck by the ax and suffered a minor cut to the shoulder, police said.
Police said Montano then fired at Officer Jonathan Frith, a six-year veteran. Frith fired off a round, exited the theater and “worked to keep Montano contained inside as SWAT officers responded.”
The SWAT team entered the theater to find a cloud of chemical spray as Montano was firing on them with the pellet gun that sounded like a small caliber pistol. Four SWAT members fired on him, but he ran out a back door with the ax in hand where he encountered five more officers who opened fire.
Montano died at the scene.