July 21st, 2015
DEVELOPING: At least 10 people have been shot — with multiple fatalities — at a Navy building in Washington, U.S. Navy authorities said Monday.
A Navy official said two shooters were “down” following reports of shots fired at around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters in southeast Washington. There are conflicting reports on the number of victims and the number of gunmen, although a federal law enforcement official told Fox News that one shooter has died. Police said as many as two additional gunmen may still be at large.
The Associated Press is reporting six fatalities and police sources earlier told The Washington Post that as many as three shooters, including one in military fatigues, were involved in the incident.
Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist at the facility, told reporters she heard at least 7 gunshots but did not see a gunman.
“I just kept running,” Ward said. “Our mission is to take care of the Navy … After today, it’s not secure enough for me.”
Roughly 3,000 people who work inside the building have been directed to stay in place as authorities continue searching for the shooter, Navy officials said. Low-flying helicopters were spotted circling above the scene, dropping baskets to evacuate people from the complex.
The Washington Post reported that a D.C. police officer was among those injured. All were listed in critical condition, authorities told the newspaper.
Rick Mason, a program management analyst who is a civilian with the U.S. Navy, said a gunman was shooting from a fourth floor overlook in the hallway outside his office. Mason said the gunman was aiming down at people in the building’s cafeteria on the first floor, adding that he could hear the shots but could not see a gunman.
Shortly after the gunfire, Mason said overhead speakers told workers to seek shelter and later to head for the gates at the complex.
Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria and heard shots. They sounded like “pop, pop, pop,” she said. After a few seconds, there were more shots, she said.
“Everybody just panicked at first,” she said. “It was just people running, running, running.”
People who were inside the building said the gunman — described as a tall, African-American male — wordlessly sprayed fire from an AR-15 assault rifle.
“We saw him hold the rifle, and we saw him aim it in our direction,” a witness told FoxNews.com.
Another witness told WJLA: “We were looking, but he was down the hall far enough that we couldn’t see a face. But we saw him hold the rifle and then we saw him raise it and aim in our direction.”
Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy’s entire budget. It builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and their combat systems.
Out of an abundance of caution, U.S. Capitol Police will conduct enhanced security operations on the Capitol Complex, although no known threat exists. Six schools have also reportedly been locked down as a precautionary measure.
White House officials, in a statement released shortly after the shooting, confirmed that President Obama had been briefed on the incident.
“The President directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and FBI, as well as the local officials,” the statement read. “We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site.”
More than 20 members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) responded to the scene, including the same Special Response Team that extracted the alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the boat where he barricaded himself following the April 15 attack.
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BREAKING NEWS: At least 10 shot, 'multiple fatalities' at DC Navy Yard,