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FBI: Upset Pensacola veteran tried to enter VA clinic armed with AR-15-style rifle, handgun

Colin Warren-Hicks
Pensacola News Journal
Northwest Florida Daily News

A U.S. Navy veteran is facing federal charges after he entered the Pensacola Veterans Affairs Clinic on Wednesday armed with an AR-15-style rifle, 34 rounds of ammunition and a handgun because he was upset COVID-19 policy changes were causing his prescriptions to be filled too slowly.

Howell E. Camp, 58, was stopped by police before he entered the building and was taken into custody.

Camp arrived at the clinic at 790 Veterans Way at about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday to fill a prescription, following the procedure the VA implemented amid the COVID-19 crisis.

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He drove up to an area near the clinic's front door, showed his identification and prescription to staff members, drove his vehicle to a designated area in the parking lot and waited for his prescription to be brought out of the building to him.

Growing frustrated at the wait, Camp left his vehicle to talk to a VA staff member. A VA police officer told investigators he witnessed Camp become agitated after speaking with the staff member and the officer asked Camp to return to his vehicle.

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According to an FBI affidavit, before leaving the clinic, Camp told a witness "those MF's up front just asked me to leave the property. … when I come, I’m gonna have something for them," the affidavit stated

He returned to the clinic two hours later, carrying an AR-15-style rifle that was loaded with 20 rounds of ammunition, with one round in the chamber. The safety was turned off and "ready to fire," the affidavit stated.

Two VA police officers who saw Camp walking toward the clinic with the rifle drew their own weapons and apprehended him before he entered the building, according to the affidavit filed in federal court.

Camp was taken into custody by VA police and later transferred into FBI custody. No one was injured in the incident, according to the FBI.

The affidavit said Camp was a repeat patient at the clinic, and the prohibition against firearms on the property was well known to him.

In addition to the rifle, a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun loaded with 14 rounds of ammunition was also found on Camp’s person.

He has been charged with possession of a firearm in a federal facility and possession of a firearm with intent to be used in commission of a crime in a federal facility.

Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at colinwarrenhicks@pnj.com or 850-435-8680.