(STL.News) – United States Attorney Lawrence Keefe, of the Northern District of Florida, yesterday announced that Pensacola resident Howell E. Camp, 58, pled guilty to carrying a concealed firearm and possession of firearms on federal property, stemming from a May 6 incident at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Joint Ambulatory Care Clinic in Pensacola. Camp admitted that he illegally possessed a 5.56 millimeter Del-Ton Incorporated rifle and a 9 millimeter Smith & Wesson pistol while at the federal facility.
Camp admitted that he became agitated while waiting for a prescription to be filled by the clinic, and left the federal facility to retrieve multiple firearms from his residence. When he returned, Camp approached the clinic doors armed with his rifle, which was loaded with 20 rounds, including one in the chamber. He was stopped at gunpoint by Veterans Affairs Police officers and taken into custody. The officers found a concealed Smith & Wesson pistol in Camp’s waistband.
“Tragedy was averted thanks to the diligence and professionalism of the VA Police officers on duty that day,” said U.S. Attorney Keefe. “We and our law enforcement partners are deeply committed to stopping gun violence and protecting federal facilities and the people who work and visit them. Veterans clinics are there to serve the brave men and women who have given so much to serve our nation, and those officers were truly heroes that day.”
Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the case following a joint investigation by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (VA OIG) joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
“The VA Police officers on scene deserve the highest praise. They showed tremendous restraint, protected the public, and even protected Howard Camp. Because of their actions, lives were saved,” said Jack Massey, FDLE Pensacola Special Agent in Charge. “FDLE will continue working closely with our federal partners doing all we can to protect our community.”
“Camp’s dangerous actions risked the safety and well-being of veterans and VA employees,” said David Spilker, VA OIG Special Agent in Charge. “VA OIG is steadfast in ensuring that VA facilities remain a safe environment for veterans and their families to seek healthcare services and we will work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable anyone who attempts to commit acts of violence or intimidation at VA facilities. I commend the swift and heroic actions of the VA Police officers, who prevented a potentially deadly outcome in this case.”
Camp faces up to six years’ imprisonment following his guilty plea. As a convicted felon, he will be prohibited from possessing firearms in the future. His sentencing has been scheduled for October 29, 2020 at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola.