FORT STEWART, Ga. - It was the actions of two Soldiers that made a big difference when a lone gunman attempted to access the third floor of Fort Stewart's Winn Army Community Hospital, where the Behavioral Health unit is located, about 4 a.m., Sept. 6.
Robert Anthony Quinones, 29, of Hinesville, Ga., is being charged via federal criminal complaint for violation of Title 18 United States Code 111, assault of a federal officer; Section 1201, kidnapping; Section 871, threatening to kill the President of the United States; and Section 879, threatening to kill a former President of the United States.
It is alleged that Quinones, recently discharged from active U.S. Army service and currently serving at Fort Stewart as a civilian, entered Fort Stewart and subsequently Winn Community Army Hospital carrying four firearms, including an MP-5 assault rifle, an AR-15 assault rifle and two handguns. It is alleged that Quinones entered the emergency room, secured a hostage and demanded to proceed to the third floor.
"On the third floor, one of the enlisted Soldiers from our behavior health unit and the senior nurse on call engaged the gunman," said Col. Paul R. Cordts, hospital commander. "They began to talk to him. Coincidently, the senior nurse on call is a former psychiatric nurse, so he has training in de-escalation of situations like this, although he has never been in one with a live gunman."
Colonel Cordts said the two Soldiers came from behind the security of a locked door to engage the gunman. Shortly after that engagement, the first responders arrived upon the scene and it became a team effort, talking down Quinones over the course of about an hour.
Brigadier General Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-rear, attributes the success of the incident to the "swift and professional actions of hospital staff, our Fort Stewart military police and the Army Criminal Investigation Department negotiators."
After the incident, Brig. Gen. Phillips and Col. Cordts toured the hospital to assure staff and patients that everything was back to normal and secured. Brigadier General Phillips is presently examining the adequacy of security at all Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield facilities.
The incident is still under investigation.