A Memphis man was arrested after he opened fire inside a TV station after trying to gain access to its lobby on Tuesday.
The suspect, identified by local police as 26-year-old Jarrad Nathan, walked into the entryway of Memphis Fox affiliate WHBQ (Channel 13) around 11:30 a.m. local time, where a security guard refused to let him into the lobby of the station.
At one point, Nathan drew an AK-47 assault rifle and opened fire toward the door separating the entryway from the lobby, prompting the security guard and another station employee to flee. A station official said employees of WHBQ were evacuated for about a half-hour while police secured the area.
Nathan ultimately left the station and walked into a nearby restaurant, where he engaged police in a two-hour standoff. The standoff ended when Nathan was taken into custody without incident. Police said he faces charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
No one was injured in either incident.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) May 3, 2023
WHBQ said Nathan was first identified by his mother in a phone call to the station, where she blamed the episode on his absent father.
“This is a reflection of why his daddy should have been there,” his mother reportedly told a station employee. “You teach your boys how to be men. They need their fathers.”
The mother, who was not identified by name, later went on to affirm Nathan had suffered from a mental health episode, and was receiving treatment for behavioral-related issues at a local medical facility.
“I think my son is crying out for attention because he needs some help,” she claimed. “Anybody who would come to the news place and shoot at anybody, that is a cry for some help.”
It wasn’t clear how Nathan obtained the firearm used in the assault and standoff on Tuesday, or whether it was legally registered to him. A Tennessee state law requires mental health providers to submit certain records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is intended to block purchases of firearms by people with certain diagnosed behavioral and mental health issues.