Montana nuclear base lockdown lifted after suspicious person prompts active shooter report

Feb 15, 2024, 11:14 AM | Updated: 1:00 pm

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — An Air Force nuclear missile base in central Montana was locked down by authorities for about two hours on Thursday after an active shooter report sowed confusion and prompted officials to issue a shelter-in-place advisory for nearby schools.

No shots were fired and nobody was injured at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, the base said as it lifted the lockdown in a statement posted to social media. A suspicious person on the base had been reported as an active shooter, officials said.

Malmstrom had just begun a scheduled training exercise — an active shooter response drill — when the report came in of a real active shooter at another location on base, said Malmstrom spokesperson Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes.

Base officials directed people to stay away from a building where they said the “suspected real world threat” was reported at about 10:30 a.m. The Great Falls Police Department said it was providing security and support in the area of the base and nearby schools due to “an incident that may be occurring” at Malmstrom.

An advisory to shelter in place was announced for schools in the surrounding community. Police recommended private schools and daycare also shelter in place.

The lockdown was lifted about two hours later.

The base community had been notified Tuesday that the active shooter response drill would take place Thursday, but a time was not publicized, a U.S. defense official said on the condition of anonymity to provide details that had not yet been made public.

Military bases routinely conduct security training exercises. In 2017, Travis Air Force Base in California was locked down for more than an hour in response to a mistaken report of a shooter during an emergency training exercise, officials said at the time.

Malmstrom has about 4,000 active duty military and civilian personnel. It’s one of three bases in the U.S. that operates and secures vast fields of Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The missiles — housed in silos scattered across Montana — are tightly guarded by security forces, including troops in armored vehicles and snipers guarding from helicopters and towers to protect each movement of a warhead. The base conducts regular drills where its forces enact a security breach and train on how to reestablish control of a breached facility.


Hanson reported from Helena, Montana. Associated Press journalist Tara Copp contributed from Washington, D.C.

National News

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Couple rescued from desert near California’s Joshua Tree National Park after running out of water

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A couple hiking in the desert south of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California was rescued after running out of water, authorities said. On Sunday, the man called 911 and reported that his girlfriend was dehydrated and weak, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office posted Monday […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park. Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers at Oaks Park to manually lower the […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Independent report criticizes Cuomo’s ‘top-down’ management of New York’s COVID-19 response

NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation into New York’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic found former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “top down” approach of dictating public health policy through his office, rather than coordinating with state and local agencies, sewed confusion during the crisis. In the state’s nursing homes, where some 15,000 people died, the administration’s […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging federal rules to accommodate abortions for workers

CHICAGO (AP) — A lawsuit filed by 17 states challenging federal rules entitling workers to time off and other accommodations for abortions lacks standing, a federal judge in Arkansas ruled on Friday. Republican attorneys general from each state, led by Arkansas and Tennessee, sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April, days after the agency […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. ___ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif. ___ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio; Microsoft founder Bill Gates; Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. ___ CNN’s […]

10 hours ago

Montana nuclear base lockdown lifted after suspicious person prompts active shooter report