Police work outside Hickory Hollow Cinemas after an unidentified gunman was shot dead on August 5, 2015 in Antioch, Tenn.
Photo by Jason Davis/Getty

Tennessee theater attacker said to have schizophrenia: Police report

A man who attacked moviegoers with pepper spray and an ax at a Tennessee theater Wednesday before being fatally shot by police had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2006, his mother told police when making a recent missing person report, according to documents.

Metropolitan Nashville police will try to learn more about what may have motivated Vincente David Montano, 29, to carry out the attack during a screening of “Mad Max: Fury Road” at the Carmike Hickory 8 theater in the suburb of Antioch shortly before 1:15 p.m. local time (2:15 p.m. ET).

This undated photo released by the Metro Nashville Police Department shows Vincente Montano, the attacker at a movie theater in Antioch, Tenn., Aug. 5, 2015. (Photo by Metro Nashville Police Department/AP)
This undated photo released by the Metro Nashville Police Department shows Vincente Montano, the attacker at a movie theater in Antioch, Tenn., Aug. 5, 2015.
Photo by Metro Nashville Police Department/AP

None of those who were attacked suffered serious injuries. Montano, who was also armed with an “airsoft” pellet gun that resembled a semi-automatic handgun, was shot dead by police officers as he left the theater through a back door while carrying the ax, police said.

“We have no motive for this today,” Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters Wednesday night. “We need to see where he has been, who he may have been talking to, who his friends may have been.”

“There’s still a lot of work to do as far as his background,” he said.

Montano’s mother reported Montano missing to Murfreesboro police on Aug. 3, just two days before the violence at the theater, according to police documents.

She told police when making the report that Montano was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2006, and had a hard time taking care of himself, according to police documents.

Montano’s mother told police that she had not seen her son since March of 2013, but had learned her son had recently obtained a state identification card that listed his address as being in Nashville, and she said the ID matched his personal information, according to the police report.

Montano was arrested by Murfreesboro police in 2004 on a charge of assault and resisting arrest, Aaron said. Police used the fingerprint from that arrest to identify him after Wednesday’s attack, he said.

Authorities in Rutherford County, where Murfreesboro is located, told police Montano had been committed for mental health issues twice in 2004 and twice in 2007, Aaron said.

Montano moved to Tennessee from Illinois with his mother and sister, and records show his mother bought a home in Murfreesboro in 2003, NBC affiliate WSMV reported. Neighbors told the station that police had frequently been called to the home, and that Montano’s mother told neighbors her son had a history of mental problems.

Montano has lived in a number of states, including Missouri, Texas, Alabama, Illinois and Florida, Nashville police said. At the time of the attack on the theater, he is believed to have been homeless, police said. He has no arrest record in Nashville, police said.

Montano stopped at a dollar store and bought a mango drink before buying a ticket to the movie and entering the theater, police said.

He wore a surgical mask as he filled the theater with pepper spray and wore a backpack across his chest, Aaron said. The backpack contained what authorities described as a “hoax device” made to look like a bomb, but which was not explosive.

The man who was cut in the arm with the ax, who only identified himself as Steven, said he has no idea why Montano attacked his family.

“I would ask anyone to pray for his family, because obviously he has some mental problems or something else,” Steven told reporters.

The attack at the theater occurred almost two weeks after a gunman in Lafayette, Louisiana, stood up in a theater during a screening of “Trainwreck” and opened fire on moviegoers. Two people were killed and nine others were wounded. The gunman, John Russell Houser, 59, killed himself. 

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com

Antioch theater shooting and Tennessee

Tennessee theater attacker said to have schizophrenia: Police report