Police in the US state of Tennessee have admitted to killing a mentally ill man who allegedly attacked people inside a theater with a fake gun and pepper-spray.
Police claimed on Wednesday that they killed the suspect when he fired his gun at an officer at the Carmike Hickory 8 movie theater complex in Antioch, Tennessee.
In a news conference on Thursday, Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said that the gunman was carrying a “very realistic looking” airsoft gun that “strongly resembles a semiautomatic pistol."
Vincente David Montano, 29, armed with a hatchet and a fake gun, terrorized crowd inside the movie theater during a Wednesday afternoon screening of the movie Mad Max: Fury Road.
Police fired about two dozen bullets at the suspect.
"If someone confronted you with it, you would think it was a real pistol. Obviously an airsoft gun makes noise. When that initial officer who confronted him reported that the gun was aimed at him, the trigger was pulled, that officer heard noises. That's when the officer fired his weapon at the suspect in that initial confrontation," Aaron added.
He admitted that Montano had "significant psychiatric or psychological issues" and was committed to psychiatric care four times in 2004 and 2007.
Aaron also confirmed that Montano was reported missing two days ahead of his death.
According to his mother, Montano had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2006. The woman said that her son "had a hard time taking care of himself," and dropped from sights in 2013.
Montano had two backpacks on him when he was killed. According to police one of the backpacks included a fake bomb and the other one was still under police investigation.
The incident comes only a few days after another theater shooting in the United States, where a gunman killed three people and injured nine others in Lafayette, Louisiana.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, over 6,000 people have been killed and over 13,000 people have been injured by gun violence in the United States since January 1, 2015.
Annually, some 4.5 million firearms are sold in the country that cost somewhere between of $2 to $3 billion.