Records: Man who shot sailor was convicted felon

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The civilian truck driver who killed a sailor aboard a destroyer at the world’s largest naval base was a Virginia man who records show was a convicted felon, a Navy official said Thursday.

The official, who was familiar with the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said the shooter was Jeffrey Tyrone Savage. Records show he has previously been convicted of voluntary manslaughter and crack cocaine possession.

Savage was killed by Navy security forces on Monday night aboard the USS Mahan after he disarmed the ship’s petty officer of the watch and used her gun to shoot Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo. Mayo was providing security at Naval Station Norfolk.

Navy officials have previously said there’s no indication the attack was planned or had any link to terrorism. Navy investigators have also said there’s no indication Savage had a previous relationship with the ship or anyone on it.

Officials are still searching for answers about why the 35-year-old Chesapeake resident drove his tractor-trailer cab onto base, walked onto a pier and up a ramp toward the ship before being confronted by security. A hospital ship was also docked at the same pier. The Navy has said the civilian shouldn’t have been on the installation the night of the shooting, and investigators are reviewing why he was allowed.

The credential Savage used to gain access — a Transportation Worker Identity Credential — is issued by the Transportation Security Administration and is valid for five years.

People with criminal records for certain crimes are allowed to have a TWIC card, as long as they have been released from prison after conviction within 5 years of the date of the application, according to TSA’s website. However, applicants can also apply for a waiver.

North Carolina records show Savage was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2008 in Mecklenburg County and released from prison on Dec. 30, 2009.

Savage and the victim were riding in a vehicle in 2005 when they began to struggle over a weapon and the weapon went off, shooting the victim, who was then left on the side of the road, according to Keith Acree with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Savage was also sentenced in Virginia in 1998 for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and served nearly five years in federal prison before transferring to a halfway house and home confinement in the Raleigh, N.C., area, according to Chris Burke, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Savage also spent two years in federal prison beginning in 2010 after his supervision was revoked and was transferred to a halfway house in February 2012, Burke said.

Virginia regulatory filings show Savage had registered a limited liability company in his name last year. The company also received a business license in the city of Chesapeake for lawn care and debris removal service, according the office of the city’s commissioner of revenue.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles could not say whether Savage had a valid commercial driver’s license, citing privacy laws. The license would have allowed Savage to drive a commercial vehicle such as a tractor-trailer.

Also on Thursday, military officials said autopsies had been performed on Mayo and Savage at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

Autopsy results will include a toxicology report that would indicate whether there were any drugs or alcohol involved, Stone said.

It could be weeks before autopsy results are provided to investigators.

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Associated Press writer Michael Felberbaum contributed to this report from Richmond.

Brock Vergakis can be reached at www.twitter.com/BrockVergakis

Associated Press

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