Investigation probes questions asked of suspect at Gate 5

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — NCIS investigators say Jeffrey Savage, a felon, had a valid credential allowing him access to Naval Station Norfolk Monday night. The shooting incidents on USS Mahan that followed bring questions of the base’s security to the forefront of the investigation.

Savage, who was convicted of manslaughter, was still eligible to get a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), which he could have used as an employee of Majette Trucking.

The website to get the TWIC says the only disqualifying offenses are espionage, sedition, treason, or a federal crime of terrorism. Those offenses are not on Savage’s record, but it is clear the shooting investigation will center on why Savage was not questioned more at Gate 5, why he was on the base at 11 p.m., and where he was going.

VIDEO: Senator Tim Kaine talks to WAVY.com about base security

“We have questions ourselves. We want to get answers too,” said Naval Station Norfolk’s Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Clark Wednesday. “What I can tell you — the civilian did have a valid TWIC, he did not have authorization to be on my base.”

Savage did not have authorization to be on the base because he did not have paperwork indicating what his business on the base was.

“[My drivers] have to show a TWIC badge and another form of identification,” said Randy Menefee, who owns a local truck company completely unrelated to Savage. “They need a [Bill of Landing] that tells them what they are doing, and what business they have on the base.”

A BOL, or Bill of Lading, can work like a receipt from a shipping company and has information like the what goods are being delivered to the base and how much.

On Monday night, Savage wasn’t delivering anything — he only had a truck and no trailer. If he was picking something up, he should have had paperwork detailing what he was there to get, who he was meeting and exactly where he was supposed to go.

“We would at least need to expect where he was going, for what purpose, and we would need some documentation on what the pickup was,” Menefee said.

During the day, all trucks must go through the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Station that is directly across the street from Gate 5 at the base. You must present your reason for the trip and the truck is searched. WAVY.com stopped by the station and found Jeff Eisenhauer just leaving an inspection.

“It’s tighter security,” he said. “They are running a clearance on everyone … it slows us down, and they need more support.”

When Savage went through Gate 5 at 11 p.m. Monday, he did not go through the inspection station because it was closed.

“So, as the Commanding Officer, we are looking into the procedures for access that were followed Monday night,” said Capt. Clark. “We will make sure we follow proper protocol.”

Checking where trucks are going and who drivers are is standard operating procedure at the base, and Clark said if he finds procedures were not adhered to, he will take immediate and appropriate action. For now, it appears the center of the investigation into Monday night’s incident is on where Savage was going, why he was on the base and who has contact was — and if he was asked those questions at Gate 5.

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