Police said 72-year-old Vietnam Veteran Harry Tracey was arrested after they said recruiters allowed him entry into a Conyers army recruiting office Thursday morning.
The police report said Tracey showed a weapon under his waistband and asked a recruiter if "he felt safe, if he was armed and if he could protect himself against an attack like the one that happened in Chattanooga."
No one was at the recruitment office when FOX 5’s George Franco paid a visit, but retired Army Major Thomas Brown said recruiters have a specific purpose.
"Their main reason is to recruit soldiers, airmen or whatever. They're not in a defensive mode. When somebody challenges that, they got to pay the consequences," said Brown
Police said Tracey was arrested outside the Dollar Tree store nearby after he left the recruitment office unhappy with the soldier’s response.
The police report states Tracey admitted bringing his handgun to "keep the guys on their toes" and "keep them aware of their surroundings.” He was jailed on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon into a government building.
There was no answer at his Conyers home, but neighbors said they weren't surprised by the arrest.
"Not surprising to me because of his attitude," one neighbor told FOX 5’s George Franco.
"We always keep to ourselves because you know he seems the kind of person who likes to be boasting and bragging," said another neighbor.
Tracey told police he meant no harm. Authorities said he broke the law even if well intentioned, a sentiment echoed by others.
"He could have done something if he really intended to but I mean that approach is a little bit radical," said Wendy Baptiste who was eating at a restaurant underneath the recruiting office.
It wasn't mentioned in the police report, but a recruiter at the Navy recruiting office next door to the Army office told FOX 5 News that Tracey also stopped by that office. He did not know if Tracey made similar remarks to the recruiter at the time.
As of Friday night Harry Tracey was behind bars at the Rockdale County Jail on a $7,000 bond.