Family: Man killed in naval base shooting planned to propose to girlfriend

Published: Oct. 14, 2018 at 11:09 PM CDT
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MILLINGTON, TN (WMC) - - One person is dead after a shooting outside a group of cottages at the naval base in Millington.

Authorities say the shooting took place early Sunday around 3 a.m. at the Fairway Cottages, which are located near Navy Rd. and Singleton Avenue.

Millington Police Chief Mark Dunbar said an argument appears to have led to the shooting.

Dunbar said one man was killed and a second man was sent to the hospital after being hurt during the shooting.

He said a third man was taken into custody.

Sunday, family members identified the victim as 24-year-old Lawrence James.

Lawrence James, 24, was killed in the shooting (Source: family)
Lawrence James, 24, was killed in the shooting (Source: family)(WMC Action News 5)

James’ mother Miranda Hogan is heartbroken after losing a son she said was a wonderful young man, and the kind of son any mother would want.

“You just never think it's going to happen to you,” Hogan said. “I would have never thought I would be burying my son.” Hogan said she's still in shock after losing her son early Sunday morning.

Lawrence went to a party at a group of cottages on the Millington Naval base, where military personnel and their family members live.

Hogan said her son was trying to break up a fight at the party when a man opened fire.

“My son was always the mediator, the one who tried to squash situations and he did a lot of that,” Hogan said. “He tried to break up the fight to keep it from escalating.”

Lawrence had recently started a new job as a truck driver. His mother said he loved it and had big plans to start a family with his longtime girlfriend.

“I was going to go with him to pick the ring out,” Hogan said. “He was going to propose to her for Christmas and I told her today after he passed because I felt like that’s something that she really needed to know because she bugged him so long. And she had no idea and he never got to tell her.”

Lawrence James and his longtime girlfriend. Family members say he was planning on a surprise...
Lawrence James and his longtime girlfriend. Family members say he was planning on a surprise proposal (Source: family)(WMC Action News 5)

“He’s the person who actually moved us into this house,” said 12-year-old Terry Gwyan, whose mother was dating Lawrence. “He helped my mom get us into this house.”

Gwyan said Lawrence was like a father to him.

“When I got home, I figured out one of the my most favorite people in my life just died and I didn’t even get to know about it,” Gwyan said. “It happened so random.”

A young man with so much life ahead of him cut short, leaving this family wondering how they will live without him.

“We had a lot of plans that now we don’t know,” Hogan said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Authorities have not released the identities of the other people involved in the shooting.

The cottages are located on the public side of the base. They're rented out to military personnel, their spouses and children.

Amanda Moreno, a public affairs officer for Naval Support Activity Mid-South, said none of the people involved in the shooting are active members of the Navy.

She said the person who rented the cottage is a spouse of a military member, but neither was present during the shooting.

Moreno said Millington police are in charge of the investigation and the Navy is providing any assistance it can.

Neighbors declined to speak when WMC Action News 5 visited the cottages on Sunday.

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