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Naval Base Security To Tighten After Fatal Shooting

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sweeping changes to Navy security after a gunman got onto the world’s biggest naval base and killed a sailor from Maryland. Now the Navy is tightening restrictions up and down the East Coast.

Christie Ileto explains some say the change is coming too late.

There’s tighter security at naval bases after officials say truck driver and convicted felon Jeffery Savage fatally shot Hagerstown sailor Mark Mayo while trying to board a ship at Naval Station Norfolk.

Guards are now turning away anyone with a felony conviction in the past 10 years.

It’s a big boost in security at bases from Maine to North Carolina.

“It’s unfortunate that we are waiting for bad measures to happen and then put protective measures in place,” said Maryland law school professor Michael Greenberger.

The Navy says anyone trying to get in with a transportation worker credential–the kind Savage used–will now be checked against a federal crime database.

Greenberger says these changes may not be enough.

“It is a knee-jerk response to a problem that has happened and unless you do a full-scale vulnerability assessment, you’re just never going to be sure that these people will be protected,” he said.

The U.S. Navy is still investigating how the civilian gunman was able to walk onto the pier toward the USS Mahan, especially since officials say he was never in the Navy and had no prior relationship with the victim.

“I’m trying to grasp what happened–how and why,” said Mayo’s brother.

This tragedy follows the September Navy Yard shooting in D.C., where an armed contractor killed 12 civilians before being shot to death. He also had security clearance.

The Navy says motive for this latest shooting remains unclear, only that the new security measures would have kept Savage off the base.

A memorial service for Mayo will be held April 7 at Naval Station Norfolk.

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