ALCOA (WATE) – In the wake of the Chattanooga shooting, many are calling for tighter security at recruiting facilities throughout the country and some are taking matters into their own hands. A group of military supporters has stationed themselves outside the Armed Forces Career Center in Alcoa.
Some flowers have been placed there as a memorial for what happened in Chattanooga last week, and that group has been out there since Friday to offer a little support and protection for anyone inside the center.
“We’re just out here paying it forward basically. I mean they work for us 24/7 so I figure it couldn’t hurt to donate a few hours of our time to make sure they get safe,” said Brandon McNeilly.
It was a recruiting center very similar to the one in Alcoa where the Chattanooga shooting spree began last week.
“We’re grieving over that, and we can’t help that,” said Hubert Queen.
Guns are not allowed inside any of the career centers. Now that five servicemen’s lives have been lost, the group is taking it upon themselves to make sure that does not happen there.
Many of them are veterans themselves. Some are members of a group called the Three Percenters. Their website describes them as “promoting liberty, freedom and a constitutional government restrained by law.”
“What we are representing here today is just simply to observe and report,” said Brian Negele.
Members of the Blount County Gun Owners were also there for a while Tuesday to help keep watch. They are all keeping a close eye out for anything suspicious, and if anything catches their eye, they will call police. However, they are armed with handguns should things escalate.
“We have a lot people out here that are supporting what we do, and I think it would be kind of hard not to,” said McNeilly.
Supporters were bringing them food and water, passing out thanks and hugs, and the group promises to stay out there rain or shine.
“It’s a shame that we are needed out here, but that’s the situation we have right now,” said Queen.
The group says they plan to stay out there until laws are changed allowing the service members inside the centers to be armed.