TAMPA — An AWOL serviceman arrested as he tried to enter MacDill Air Force Base with weapons and ammunition in his vehicle has been charged with desertion and will be turned over to the Army, base officials reported Tuesday evening.
Spc. Christopher Paul Kilburn had been stationed with Alpha Company, 1-16th 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan., a media release from the base said. It did not specify when he left. Kilburn will be turned over to Army officials, and additional charges will be pending as the investigation continues.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will decide how to charge Kilburn’s companion, Palm Beach resident Micah Noel Goodier.
The pair were arrested Monday evening, when they tried to gain access to the base. The base’s public affairs office did not know if either person had an attorney.
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Air Force Col. Dave Cohen said during a news conference earlier Tuesday that it doesn’t appear to have been a terrorism attempt.
Investigators were still trying to get to the bottom of the couple’s motivation and intent, Cohen said.
“We’ve been talking to them since last night trying to get information, and we’re still trying to put that puzzle together,” he said.
The couple’s Honda CRV contained three handguns, three rifles and some ammunition, Cohen said. He described them as “military style” but commercially available.
He said they tried to drive onto the base at about 5 p.m. at a remote gate and flashed phony military identification. A security officer became suspicious, and the couple cooperated when they were asked by officers to get out of the car.
When the weapons were found, a bomb disposal unit was called to examine the car, Cohen said. No explosives were found.
“At no point was the security of MacDill Air Force Base breached,” he said. “The system worked exactly as it was supposed to.”
MacDill, situated on a peninsula south of downtown Tampa, is the home of U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also houses the U.S. Special Operations Command that coordinates the activities of elite units from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
Last month, an FBI agent who was at the base on unrelated business fatally shot a Vietnam veteran after an altercation. The veteran had been staying at the family campground on the base. Officials said he came at the agent with a knife before he was killed.