NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A volunteer with Nashville International Airport is being hailed a hero after a woman fired a gun near the baggage claim area.
Earnest Cobble came back to BNA from retirement after working there for 25 years.
“I’m kind of accustomed to people asking ‘how do I get here? where is this, where is that? where are the restrooms?’ So when I retired, I just said I wouldn’t mind being a volunteer,” Cobble told News 2.
Around 7 a.m. on Easter Sunday, he wasn’t alarmed when a woman kept coming to the desk with questions so he started helping a couple afterward and that’s when he heard a gunshot.
“From where I’m standing now as I turned and the young lady was behind me and the first thing I said was ma’am you shouldn’t have that gun here at the airport,” he recalled.
The woman was identified as 39-year-old Danielle Calthomas. Cobble recalled the tense moments for him, Calthomas, and the passengers nearby.
“I asked them to get down, I asked her to put the gun down. I begged her put the gun down,” he said. “She fired again, I kept yelling at her put the gun down, put the gun down and she slid to the floor and fell on her stomach.”
All of this was happening as Cobble warned passengers to stay away.
“I’m telling passengers coming from the north end to get back and passengers coming up the elevator to go back down the elevator,” he said.
Throughout the ordeal, he kept trying to keep Calthomas’ attention.
“She asked me to call 911 and I had airport police on the phone already and then she asked me to call her mother and through that process, I’m telling her put the gun down, slide the gun to the door,” said Cobble.
Eventually, he said she slid the gun out of her reach and airport police swooped in.
According to an arrest affidavit, Calthomas had fired the weapon twice with one round next to her head and the other in her left thigh. The report stated that officers responding to the scene reported smelling burnt gunpowder in the air and saw a bullet casing on the floor after the incident. Calthomas told officers she was “sorry” and was rendered medical aid.
“Ask me why I stayed calm, I can’t give you that answer, I just knew I didn’t want her to hurt herself, hurt anyone else, or hurt me,” Cobble said.
His actions were honored by Metro Council and the airport’s Board of Commissioners, crediting him for helping to avoid a potential tragedy.
“Several times, I ask myself I go through all these scenarios of what could happen and I ask OK it could have gone a different direction, I’m glad it did not,” he said. “Talking to our police officers here, they let me know ‘hey you did the right thing, you kept your eye on her’ and let me know it played out the best way it could play out, everybody is alive.”
Cobble said he felt communication was crucial during the whole incident. He told the airport police exactly where he was located and they sent the nearest officers to help.
Calthomas was charged with reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and was released four hours after being booked.