Vincente David Montano, 29, who was shot and killed by police, had a history of mental illness, had been committed four times, and was arrested in 2004 for assault and resisting arrest. He had been reported as a missing person on Aug. 3, Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said in a press conference.
The attack comes just weeks after another gunman killed two women at a screening of the movie Trainwreck in Louisiana.
Montano – who was carrying two backpacks and was armed with a hatchet and a gun that turned out to be an Airsoft pistol that fires plastic pellets – attacked moviegoers during a showing of Mad Max: Fury Road, injuring three people with pepper spray and striking one of them with the hatchet.
Metro Nashville Police Department / AP
Police who had been at the scene of a crash nearby responded quickly to reports of an active shooter. The Tennessean reports that the suspect was wearing a surgical mask when officers entered the theater. One of the police officers confronted Montano but backed away when he "saw a gun come up" and "a trigger about to be pulled," said Nashville Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson.
Montano was shot when he encountered a SWAT team near the back door of the theater.
"When he came at them in a threatening manner, they opened fire," Anderson said.
The bomb squad was also called in after police discovered what appeared to be an explosive device in Montano's backpack. It was detonated and later determined to be a hoax bomb.
One of the victims, a 58-year-old man identified only as Steven, suffered a minor hatchet wound to his shoulder; he later thanked the police for their fast response in an emotional statement.
""We did nothing to bring this on ourselves," he said. "I'm very, very grateful that no one else got injured here today other than the person who perpetrated this."
"I'd also like to thank all of the citizens who gathered around us, helped my daughter when we were pepper-sprayed," he added. "That kind of gives me a little bit more faith in humanity again."
Reporting by SUSAN KEATING
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