D.C. officials said at least 13 people are dead after a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. The U.S. Navy said shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where about 3,000 people work.
“So much was misreported in the first few hours after the shooting rampage at Washington’s Navy Yard,” Paul Farhi writes in The Post.
The erroneous reports weren’t concocted. In most cases, they came directly from police sources, and quickly bubbled up through the modern media ecosystem, hopping from law enforcement scanners to Twitter to traditional media reports, all within minutes. Reporters are no better than their sources, and as sources, police scanners aren’t very reliable.
Jim Farley, the news chief at WTOP, tells Farhi that a scanner “is not a source.”
“Our main motto is first get it right, then get it fast. We’d rather be slow but accurate. The public doesn’t remember who got what first. It does remember who got something wrong.”
Breakfast beckoned in Building 197.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, a civilian utilities foreman at the Navy Yard, didn’t work in that building, his ex-wife, Evelyn Proctor, told The Associated Press. But, she said: “It was a routine thing for him to go there in the morning for breakfast, and unfortunately it happened.”
The high school sweethearts had spoken early Monday morning, before he left for work. They talked every day, even after their marriage ended in divorce earlier this year.
“We were still very close. It wasn’t a bitter divorce,” she said. “We still talked every day, and we lived 10 minutes away from each other.”
He was, she said, “a very loving, caring, gentle person.”
After failing to reach her ex-husband by telephone, she drove to the Navy Yard, fearing the worst, according to The Associated Press. She waited about three hours with other people looking for their loved ones and was informed around 8 p.m. that Kenneth Proctor was among the shooter’s victims.
He was 46 years old and loved his boys and his Redskins. He’d been born and raised in Charles County, Md., and was still living there. He’d worked for the federal government for 22 years, his ex-wife said. They’d married in 1994 and had two sons together – both now teenagers. Their youngest, Kendull, is 15. Their eldest, Kenneth Jr., 17, recently enlisted in the Army.
Police confirmed the names and ages of seven victims killed in Monday’s attack at the Navy Yard:
Michael Arnold, 59.
Kathleen Gaarde, 62.
John Roger Johnson, 73.
Frank Kohler, 50.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46.
Vishnu Pandit, 61.
The Washington Post’s Emily Wax-Thibodeux identified an eighth: Arthur Daniels, 51.
For the past two years, Arthur Daniels — grandfather of nine — had relocated and installed office furniture in federal government buildings around the region. On Monday, he went to work inside the Naval Yard.
He spotted a gunman running down a hallway in Building 197, according to witnesses. He and a colleague ran. They arrived at an elevator and frantically pushed the button.
The gunman shot Daniels in the back, a witness said. …
Daniels’s son, Arthur Jr., said the family was struggling to “understand why.”
“All he did was go to work,” he said. “That was his only crime.”
We’re profiling the lives lost at the Navy Yard on a special page.
From Tuesday’s front-page profile of Aaron Alexis, the man named as the shooter in Monday’s mass killing at Building 197:
Those who knew Alexis in recent years describe him as a “sweet and intelligent guy” (a regular customer at the Thai restaurant where he had been a waiter) and “a good boy” (his landlord), but also as “very aggressive,” someone who seemed as though he might one day kill himself (a lay worker at the Buddhist temple where Alexis worshiped). …
“He’s a 13-year-old stuck in a 34-year-old body,” said Oui Suthamtewakul, owner of the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Tex., and a friend who lived with Alexis for most of the past three years. “He needs attention.”
Patrick Bolton knew his neighbor Kathy Gaarde worked at the Navy Yard, so when the news broke of a mass shooting there Monday, he tried reaching out to her and her family members. Bolton, 31, said he played with Gaarde’s son, Christopher, growing up in their neighborhood in the Lake Ridge area of Prince William County, and he remained close with Kathleen, her husband and her daughter, Jessica, who still stayed in her parents’ home.
Informed by a reporter that Gaarde, 62, had died, Bolton seemed to fight back tears.
“She just helped make it a good home for her family and worked hard and provided everything her family could need,” Bolton said. “They’re the kind of people you want to live next door to you.”
Bolton said that Kathleen Gaarde was an avid Washington Capitals fan who might have even donated to the team (her name is listed under donors in a 2009-2010 annual report). He said she was a loving wife and mother, raising her two children and a dog in a modest home with a large pool in the back yard.
“The mother was just the kindest lady in the world,” Bolton said. “I’m not even exaggerating. I’ve never seen her do anything but nice things for people.”
Bolton said he and his family had tried to reach out to Gaarde when they heard what had happened at the Navy Yard, but their messages were left unreturned. He said he had been sitting glued to the news coverage all day, hoping to hear some good news about his neighbor, who he thought might be close to retirement.
He said he could not fathom why someone would want to hurt her.
“There’s no reason she would be targeted,” he said.
All day and into the night, they waited for news. Inside a three-bedroom home in Prince George’s County, Sylvia Frasier’s parents and siblings gathered, hoping to hear something about her fate.
The family had not been able to reach Sylvia, a 53-year-old network-security administrator with the Naval Sea Systems Command, since they’d heard about the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.
The Frasiers prayed and watched the news. They clutched their iPhones and clasped each other’s hands every time a cellphone rang or beeped with a text message. Their minister came over, and everyone sat on the couches and sang from the Bible.
By 7 p.m., there still had been no word on the whereabouts of Sylvia, the second-youngest of James and Eloise Frasier’s seven children and a resident of Charles County.
The phone of Wendy Edmonds, 52, the youngest of the siblings, rang again. It was the third-oldest sibling, Lindlee Frasier, calling from the District.
“Okay, Sylvia’s in the hospital. She’s injured. The FBI talked to me,” Lindlee told Edmonds. Authorities said they were trying to figure out which hospital and how badly she was hurt.
Edmonds worried that Sylvia might be more than injured. She tried to prepare her family for the worst.
“No matter how we feel, no matter what information we get from the FBI, we have got to forgive,” she said. “We have to forgive. We can’t become bitter.”
Finally, shortly before 10 p.m., Lindlee and a brother arrived at their parents’ home with news they couldn’t bring themselves to deliver by phone: Sylvia was dead.
“He killed my sister,” Edmonds cried.
A distraught neighbor of Michael Arnold’s in Lorton said he was a “wonderful person and a wonderful neighbor.” She was on her way to Arnold’s wife’s house to try to console her.
The neighbor said Arnold, 59, had lived in the neighborhood for at least a dozen years, and was “the best neighbor ever.”
— Martin Weil
A man who answered the phone at the home of Vishnu Pandit, 61, said that the family did not want to be bothered and would not be speaking to the media.
One neighbor, Zhaohua Zhou, said that a steady stream of cars have gathered outside Pandit’s home in North Potomac. “I’m astonished,” Zhou said. “I’m just so sorry.”
Another neighbor, Mike Honig, said that Pandit and his wife have lived in the neighborhood for at least 20 years. He described Pandit as “a very nice man with an Irish setter.” While the neighbors frequently exchanged pleasantries, Honig said he did not know Pandit or his wife well.
“All of the neighbors are doing all they can,” Honig said. “It’s a terrible tragedy… It’s a stain and strain on the nation that we haven’t put public safety laws in place to prevent this sort of tragedy … I’m ashamed and Congress should be, too.”
At least 52 convicted felons have received routine unauthorized access to military installations in recent years, according to a federal watchdog report on security at several U.S. Navy installations set for release in the coming days.
The findings by the Defense Department Office of Inspector General are part of an audit of the Navy’s procedures for granting access to bases. The audit reviewed security operations at Navy installations in Virginia and the District, including the Washington Navy Yard, according to a summary of the audit posted in the agency’s August newsletter. The summary does not provide details about the findings, but inspector general probes are typically launched in response to a credible report of lapses or wrongdoing.
Draft copies of the audit were shared with some congressional offices on Monday just hours after the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. A congressional aide who has seen a copy of the draft audit said that the audit mentions that at least 52 convicted felons had access to military installations. The aide declined to share more details on the report pending its release, but said it should become public “in the near future.”
Arthur Daniels, 51, is among the deceased. He had worked in the Navy Yard building on and off for more than 19 years, doing various repairs.
Today, he went to work at 6:30 a.m.
His wife, Priscilla, wept as she said she waited all day and was told an hour ago he didn’t make it. “I don’t know why they shot him. He was a good father and hard worker,” she said. Daniels had five children and nine grandchildren.
“We can’t understand why,” his son, Arthur Junior, said. ” All he did was go to work. That was his only crime.”
— Emily Wax
Mayor Vincent Gray has identified the Metropolitan Police Department officer wounded in today’s shooting as Scott Williams.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier confirmed that Williams, who was shot twice in the leg, was a K-9 officer who has been on the force 23 years.
Lanier said she has known and worked closely with Williams for “many, many years.”
“He’s got a stellar record,” she said.
“He’s got a pretty serious injury, but right now his family is here with him and he’s in good spirits,” Lanier added. “He’s just very grateful for all the other responders who helped get him out of that building and get the medical attention he needed.”
Police have confirmed the names and ages of seven victims killed in today’s attack at the Navy Yard whose families have been notified. None are military personnel.
Michael Arnold, 59.
Sylvia Frasier, 53.
Kathy Gaarde, 62.
John Roger Johnson, 73.
Frank Kohler, 50.
Bernard Proctor, 46.
Vishnu Pandit, 61.
Authorities are “comfortable” that Aaron Alexis was the sole shooter in today’s deadly attack at the Navy Yard, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced at a 10 p.m. press conference.
“We have exhausted all means that we have available to either support or discount” eyewitness accounts of a possible second shooter, Lanier said. “We are comfortable we have the single and sole person responsible for the loss of life on the base today.”
None of the victims of today’s shooting were identified at the press conference, but they range in age from 46 to 73 years of age, Mayor Vincent Gray said. Seven families of the deceased have been notified, he said, while the process continues to notify the other six.
Gray did identify an officer injured in the attack as Scott Williams. According to a city employee database, Williams has been on the force since 1990 and is listed as a dog handler.
Two civilians were shot but not killed, the mayor said, and have minor injuries. He counted only five more injured, in contrast to a Navy announcement of 14.
Traffic patterns should be back to normal tomorrow, he announced.
Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the Washington FBI Field Office, confirmed that Alexis had a security clearance to enter the Navy Yard.
“Mr. Alexis had legitimate to access to the Navy Yard as a result of his work as a contractor and he utilized a valid pass to gain entry to the Navy Yard,” she said.
The Hewlett-Packard subcontractor that suspected Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis had been working for has put out a statement on today’s attack:
The Experts would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies regarding the incident that occurred at the DC Naval Yards.
We are actively cooperating with the FBI and other authorities in relation to the investigation on the suspect.
Any additional information we have will be shared accordingly.
Alexis worked for The Experts starting in September 2012 until the end of last year on a Navy computing contract in a base in Japan. From January to July of this year, Hoshko said, they believe Alexis was going back to school. He was slated to start working on another phase of the Navy computing contract at the Navy Yard this month and already had his government contract access card (CAC) and security clearance that had been updated in July.
Oui Suthamtewakul, owner of The Happy Bowl, a Thai restaurant where Aaron Alexis worked in Fort Worth, Tex., told The Post’s Leslie Minora that the suspected shooter was a drinker and video game player who always carried his gun and was suspicious of American women.
“He’s a 13-year-old stuck in a 34 year-old-body,” Suthamtewakul told reporters outside the restaurant Monday night. “He needs attention.”
“He always hit on girls,” including some restaurant customers, Suthamtewakul recalled. When he did that, Suthamtewakul would scold him: “You know you can’t do that,” he would say.
“He liked to hang out with Thai people … he had a problem with American women,” Suthamtewakul said, explaining that Alexis believed they talked too much and wanted too much money.
Alexis moved out of Suthamtewakul’s home in July, he said. Asked what he will remember most about Alexis, Suthamteakul said: “Him with a Heineken.”
“He can start drinking at 9:30 in the morning,” Suthamteakul added. “He’s not an alcoholic, he just drinks a lot.”
Alexis played video games in his room and liked the game “Call of Duty,” Suthamteakul said.
Michael Ritrovato, another friend, confirmed that Alexis spent a lot of time playing video games, shooting games in particular.
“If there was ever a problem with Aaron, that was it,” said Ritrovato, who met Alexis at a Thai festival in Keller, Texas.
Alexis also carried a gun “at all times,” Suthamteakul recalled — specifically, a .45-caliber handgun that Alexis would keep with him at the restaurant.
Suthamteakul said he was “shocked” to learn the news on Monday. “When I heard the news today — that’s just not him,” he said.
“I can’t believe he did that – if he did that,” he added.
The Washington Nationals postponed a Monday evening game against the Atlanta Braves — but it took hours for the team and Major League Baseball to announce the decision.
So why did it take so long? The Post’s Adam Kilgore and James Wagner found out:
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said the decision to postpone the game until Tuesday, when it will be made up as part of a doubleheader, took time because of “the immense coordination that it takes to make these decisions with federal, state and local authorities. It’s just a timely process.”
“There’s a lot of [logistics] that go into cancelling a game for these reasons,” Rizzo said. “We have to be in contact with federal authorities and the D.C. authorities to have a coordinated effort. And then whenever you cancel a game, MLB is involved, and we have to go through the correct procedures for that.”
District Mayor Vincent C. Gray said in a phone interview that he wasn’t involved with every detail of the postponement, but that he wished the decision had been made earlier. He said he feared letting thousands of people near the area of an ongoing investigation.
Braves reliever Scott Downs told The Post that “Baseball was the last thing on everybody’s mind once they heard the tragedy that went on and the extent, and there’s still somebody out there they don’t know. That’s the last thing anybody wanted to do is come back to the ballpark.”
Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said Nationals players’ union representative Drew Storen and Braves player representative Brandon Beachy agreed to call the Major League Baseball Players Association to express the players’ desire to postpone the game.
Read the full story here.
Aaron Alexis was a relaxed, helpful person who loved Thailand, Anthony Bourdain and karaoke, the wife of his former boss at a Thai restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas told the Post.
“Aaron was so chill and so laid back,” Kristi Suthamtewakul said in an interview. Alexis met Oui Suthamtewakul, Kristi’s husband, at a nearby Buddhist temple. He lived with the couple and worked at Suthamtewakul’s Thai restaurant, Happy Bowl.
“He helped us get this restaurant running.” she said, adding that he did so for free. “He was so helpful. He was such a nice guy.” A Christian, she said she had good conversations about religion with him. “It’s really hard for us to reconcile.”
But, she added, Alexis was frustrated by his financial situation.
“He didn’t have a job, so it was really hard for him to get money” for some months, she said. He often complained that he wasn’t receiving enough money and wasn’t receiving it on time: “He just felt slighted by his benefits.” But, she said, he would not get angry “in any extraordinary way.”
— Leslie Minora
Vice Adm. Bill French, the head of all Navy installations, said as of 8:30 p.m. that roughly 2,000 civilians remained at the Navy Yard and that it could take until 11 p.m. or later to finish processing them off the base.
In addition, French said that the number of injured stands at 14. All are civilians, he said.
Removal of the employees was painfully slow, because the FBI is still interviewing every person leaving the base out of concern that a second suspect may still be at large.
And SWAT teams are still finding people hiding in places on the base, where they have remain hunkered down since the initial attack early this morning. One city official said that shortly before 7 p.m., officers found an employee hiding in a locker, where the employee had been for nearly 11 hours.
Several military contractors leaving in recent hours said they were interviewed one-on-one by FBI agents. Each was asked about what they saw during the attack, and was required to give a name and provide personal contact information.
The late evening departures did bring to light some new details of the chaos that surrounded the morning attack.
Alba Gonzales, 30, said that in her building of budget analysts, all the way across the base from where the attack began, SWAT teams descended on a second-floor office after 10 am. when someone barricaded himself in an empty office.
Gonzalez heard the SWAT team push into the office, where a filing cabinet and desk had been propped against the door. When the ordeal was over, employees found a bag in the office with a letter to an employee who had just begun working in Building 197, the scene of some of the worst carnage, a week ago.
Undersecretary for the Navy, Juan Garcia, said the Navy Yard would reopen tomorrow for essential personnel only. Most employees would be encouraged to telecommute. Garcia said it was unclear who the base would reopen in its entirety.
Garcia said the Navy has set up a counseling line for anyone struggling to cope with Monday’s attack. That number is 1-800-222-0364.
According to law enforcement officials, the shotgun used in today’s deadly attack at the Navy Yard was purchased in Lorton, Va. The shooter had three guns, including a handgun that is believed to have been taken from a security guard shot during the attack, investigators said.
— Sari Horwitz and Clarence Williams
Updated 8:59 p.m. ET
One Navy Yard worker who remained unaccounted for Monday night was Mary DeLorenzo Knight, an I.T. specialist who taught classes at Northern Virginia Community College, according to her professional profile.
A call to Knight’s family in North Carolina was returned by a family representative, Theodore Hisey. The family hadn’t heard from Knight since Sunday, Hisey said. They hadn’t been able to reach her Monday, and their calls to area hospitals produced no information. They know she normally would have been in the building where the shooting occurred, he said.
“Their mindset right now is very upsetting,” Hisey said.
The Post’s Colum Lynch reports from Brooklyn, NY.:
In the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, television trucks and reporters converged on a leafy Brownstone block that is the home of Cathleen Alexis, the mother of the deceased shooter, Aaron Alexis.
More than a dozen neighbors said they did not recognize a photograph of Aaron Alexis and that they knew Cathleen Alexis as a friendly but reserved woman who largely kept to herself.
But Cathleen Alexis never emerged from the house and police maintained a perimeter around the house to keep out prying reporters.
“I didn’t know she had a son,” said one neighbor, who identified himself only by his first name, James. “She’s a quiet lady, she keeps to herself; she says hello but doesn’t hold much of a conversation. I feel sorry for the lady with all this press outside her house. I don’t blame her for not wanting to come out.”
Anthony Parron, who lives a few blocks away, was drawn to the spectacle by the bright lights of the police vehicles and television truck, a common site, he said in a neighborhood that is frequently at the center of violent crimes. But he said he was taken aback by the reports of the large-scale killing in the District.
“It’s a shame,” he said.
Fourteen people were injured in today’s shooting, according to the latest count from the Navy. Along with the 13 dead, including the gunman, that makes 27 casualties, Vice Adm. William French told reporters at a press conference just now. All 12 victims killed were civilians, he said.
A couple thousand people are still within in the facilities, he said, and evacuation will take another two or three hours.
“Our hearts, our thoughts, and prayers goes out to everyone impacted,” French said.
Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs, announced that counseling is available at Nationals Stadium and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. All personnel affected with gunshot wounds will be able to receive treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, he added.
Witnesses describe the chaotic scene at the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning, where at least one gunman opened fire and the death toll rose to more than a dozen. (The Washington Post)
Aaron Alexis had been working as a computer contractor for The Experts, and appeared to have a government contractor access card that would have allowed him onto the Navy Yard and other military installations, according to the company’s CEO, Thomas Hoshko. He was working as an hourly technical employee on a massive subcontract with Hewlett Packard to refresh computer systems worldwide at Navy and Marine Corps installations.
Alexis worked for The Experts starting in September 2012 until the end of last year on a Navy computing contract in a base in Japan. From January to July of this year, Hoshko said, they believe Alexis was going back to school. He was slated to start working on another phase of the Navy computing contract at the Navy Yard this month and already had his government contract access card (CAC) and security clearance that had been updated in July.
“There had to be a thorough investigation,” Hoshko said. “There is nothing that came up in all the searches. “
“Nobody could have done anything to prevent this except Aaron Alexis,” Hoshko said. “Maybe he snapped. I don’t know. It’s just the most unfortunate incident I’ve seen in all my career. “
“Discharge from the military does not automatically disqualify a person from getting a job as a military contractor or a security clearance. It depends on what the circumstances are,” Hoshko said, adding that he and his co-workers are still reeling. “Obviously he was well-qualified. This really came out and shocked all of us.”
A Navy official said Alexis was given a “general discharge,” a classification often given to service members who leave the military with a blemished record of performance.
— Carol D. Leonnig
Why wasn’t Aaron Alexis charged with a crime when he was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas in 2010 for recklessly discharging a firearm?
The Tarrant County District Attorney has explained:
It was determined that Alexis was cleaning a gun in his apartment when it accidentally went off. A bullet entered an apartment upstairs. No one was injured.
After reviewing the facts presented by the police department, it was determined that the elements constituting recklessness under Texas law were not present and a case was not filed.
President Obama has called FBI Director James Comey and gotten an update on the ongoing Navy Yard investigation, the White House said in a statement.
Obama also expressed gratitude for “the quick response of Bureau personnel” and for the close coordination between the FBI, federal agencies and local officials, the White House said.
When the doors to Tyler Elementary School were locked Monday morning in response to the shootings at the nearby Navy Yard, a few parents who had just dropped off their children were also shut inside.
Ivy Estabrooke, who has a 4-year-old daughter at the school on G Street SE, said she was happy to be “caught” along with her 2-year-old in the lockdown that began at about 9 a.m.
“I was incredibly impressed with the seriousness with which the school took the safety of the children — the professionalism of the teachers and the principal and all of the staff,” Estabrooke said.
She is a civilian Navy employee who works in Arlington and lives on Capitol Hill.
Estabrooke said she and her 2-year-old daughter waited out the lockdown in the older daughter’s pre-kindergarten classroom. “Frankly if something was going to happen,” she said, “I would rather be with both of my children.”
There were two other parents and siblings in the classroom during the episode, Estabrooke said. The school found an extra diaper for a visitor when one was needed. It also rustled up some spare lunches– bean burritos, green beans, oranges, milk.
The teacher continued teaching, Estabrooke said. It was a normal day except there was no recess and there were no “specials” – lessons in various subjects typically given to young children in a rotating schedule outside of their regular classroom.
Estabrooke and the other parents left with their children at about 2:45 p.m. when school officials were given approval to dismiss.
A man threw firecrackers over the north fence of the White House and has been detained by law enforcement officials.
Ruth Anne Arnum, a tourist from Shoreham, N.Y., said she saw the man drive up on a blue bicycle with a blue camouflage backpack and throw a firecracker over the White House fence.
“Somebody screamed, ‘Who threw that!’ and he did it again,” Arnum said. In seconds, three law enforcement officials pounced on the man. Several other officers drew their weapons, she said.
“With all the things that go on these days, it was scary,” she said.
The photo below comes courtesy of Gerard Arnum and captures when uniformed members of the U.S. Secret Service tackled the man who threw firecrackers over the White House fence.
The Post’s Aaron Davis reports:
Large police-escorted bus convoys with hundreds of workers continued to leave Navy Yard after 7 p.m. Monday, with several peering out windows at the full city block of television news trucks still amassed behind police lines.
So what exactly is the Washington Navy Yard? We tasked The Post’s Steve Vogel — a veteran Pentagon correspondent and military historian — and he delivered.
Some key excerpts:
The historic yard, which includes 2.2 million square feet of office space along the Anacostia River, has undergone a major renovation and expansion over the past 15 years. The Naval Sea Systems Command, which employs some 3,000 workers at the Navy Yard, is the largest of the Navy’s five systems commands and is responsible for designing and engineering ships, shipboard weapons and command systems.
The gates at the Navy Yard are manned by U.S. Marines from the nearby Marine Barracks and personnel from the Naval District Washington Security, including some civilians.
Visitors without military identification must possess a valid reason for entry and show identification to gain access, according to the Navy.
The Navy Yard is also home to the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, which is open to the public. Visitors to the museum are required to show identification, according to Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Comerford, a spokesman for the Navy History and Heritage Command.
In addition to NAVSEA, the Washington Navy Yard is home to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Military Sealift Command, the Office of the Naval Inspector General and the Office of the Judge Advocate General.
Read Vogel’s full report here.
Christopher P. Ryan, a civilian contractor for the U.S. Navy, has penned an essay for The Washington Post recounting what he saw, heard and was thinking during the standoff.
Ryan notes that the facility is “a quiet, small-town alcove in the midst of the city, and it has gorgeous views of the river, a relaxed atmosphere, and a Dunkin’ Donuts just steps from my desk. There are always military personnel around, but, to me, it seems as though the base is mostly civilian — a bunch of lucky professionals in D.C.’s hidden, suburban-like Navy base.”
Read his full account here.
The Washington Navy Yard will be closed Tuesday, officials announced, “with the exception of Emergency response and mission essential personnel determined by individual unit commanders.”
“No vehicle traffic is allowed on or off the base until further notice,” a statement posted on Facebook reads. “When vehicle traffic resumes on base additional notification will be released.”
At a 6 p.m. press conference, Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters that an investigation in the area of the Navy Yard continues and inhabitants are being asked to shelter in place.
Reports of a disturbance at the White House, coming on the heels of the Navy Yard attack, sparked fears of a shooting. In fact, it was a man lighting firecrackers over the fence, according to bystanders.
Those who were watching say a man lit a firecracker over the fence at the White House and then another before law enforcement officials tackled him.
The deceased shooter worked for a subcontractor of technology giant Hewlett-Packard, the company confirmed Monday evening to The Post’s Marjorie Censer.
Michael Thacker, director of corporate media relations for Hewlett-Packard, issued the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those who have been affected. Aaron Alexis was an employee of a company called ‘The Experts,’ a subcontractor to an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network. HP is cooperating fully with law enforcement as requested.”
Two staffers for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram knew Aaron Alexis, the now deceased man behind today’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard, when he was a waiter at a Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Texas.
“Just really a sweet and intelligent guy,” copy editor Sandy Guerra-Cline said in a video posted by the newspaper. “Very sweet, not a guy that talked about guns or talked about anything violent. As a matter of fact, my best memories are of him sitting at one of the tables… trying to teach himself Thai.” The owners treated him as part of their family, Guerra-Cline said.
Alexis came to Fort Worth with the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 46 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth and stayed in the area after he left the military in 2011. He was a regular at the Wat Busayadhammavanaram Meditation Center in Fort Worth. J. Sirun, an assistant to the monks at the center, described him as quiet on the outside but “very aggressive” on the inside.
Aaron Alexis was pursuing a bachelor’s of science in aeronautics as an online student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, according to a school spokeswoman.
“He was enrolled for this semester,” said Melanie Hanns, director of University Communications. She could not immediately say if he attended any physical classes or was strictly an online student, but said he remained a student in good standing.
The university is a private, nonprofit institution with three branches. A residential campus in Daytona Beach, Fla., has about 5,100 students. Another in Prescott, Ariz., has 1,700.
The third branch, described as a “worldwide campus,” is also based in Daytona Beach and markets itself to military personnel and others who want “flexible learning” options. It provides about 15,500 students with various online programs and classes at more than 150 locations in the United States and abroad. The university traces its roots to a school of aviation opened in 1926 by the Embry-Riddle Company in Ohio.
“Our mission is to teach the science, practice and business of aviation and aerospace, preparing students for productive careers and leadership roles in service around the world,” the school says on its Web site. The school offers bachelor’s degrees in subjects from aeronautical science to space physics, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees.
— Nick Anderson and Steve Hendrix
As Washington reels from today’s mass shooting, House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton sought to reassure residents that their hometown was secure.
“This is the safest city in the United States. Not safe from attack, but safe,” she said at a news conference with Mayor Vincent Gray and law enforcement personnel, citing the fast response by police and first responders. “This is a safe city, and we can go about our business in the usual way.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a leading advocate for stricter federal gun laws, is calling once again on Congress to take up the issue after the shooting Monday at the Washington Navy Yard.
Here’s her full statement:
“I mourn those killed today at the Navy Yard in Washington and send my thoughts and prayers to those families grieving the loss of loved ones.
“There are reports the killer was armed with an AR-15, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol when he stormed an American military installation in the nation’s capital and took at least 12 innocent lives.
“This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons—including a military-style assault rifle—and kill many people in a short amount of time.
“When will enough be enough?
“Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life.”
Feinstein is no stranger to gun violence. In 1978 as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, she was elevated to mayor after the assassinations of then-Mayor George Moscone and fellow supervisor, Harvey Milk.
There’s no sign that today’s shooting has a terrorist connection, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray told reporters at a joint news conference with law enforcement authorities Monday evening.
“We don’t have any known motive at this juncture,” Gray said. “We have no information that would suggest that’s the case at this point.”
There was little new information given at the conference. Gray said that authorities are still asking people to be on the lookout for an African-American man, about 50 years old, wearing an olive uniform. Police Chief Cathy Lanier added that people in the Navy Yard are still being asked to shelter in place and that an active investigation continues. The FBI is also still asking for any information on Aaron Alexis, identified as the gunman.
Lanier also pressed the media not to report information leaked by law enforcement sources that is not released by official outlets, saying that there is a lot of misinformation floating around.
A photo circulating on Monday showed someone lying on the sidewalk near the CVS in the Navy Yard area. It appeared to many that the photo was related to the shooting, but the CVS is actually a few blocks away from the Navy Yard, prompting confusion. The Associated Press has disavowed this photo, saying that they haven’t been able to confirm any connection between the photo and the shooting.
The Metropolitan Police Department officer shot twice in the leg in today’s attack is out of surgery, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference just now. The D.C. officer was treated at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is in stable condition.
“He does have serious injuries, but we know he’s going to be okay,” Lanier said.
Aaron Alexis, the deceased gunman, was arrested in 2004 in Seattle for shooting out the tires of a vehicle in what was later described as “an anger-fueled blackout.”
Following his arrest, Alexis told detectives he perceived he had been “mocked” by construction workers the morning of the incident and said they had “disrespected him.” Alexis also claimed he had an anger-fueled “blackout,” and could not remember firing his gun at the victims’ vehicle until an hour after the incident.
Alexis also told police he was present during “the tragic events of September 11, 2001″ and described “how those events had disturbed him.”
Detectives later spoke with Alexis’ father, who lived in New York at the time, who told police Alexis had anger management problems associated with PTSD, and that Alexis had been an active participant in rescue attempts on September 11th, 2001.
In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder condemned today’s “heinous attack” and promised that all the resources of the Department of Justice will be made available in responding to the shooting. The full statement:
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Department of Justice are with the victims of this heinous attack, and their families. We also extend our sincerest gratitude to the local and federal law enforcement agents in our nation’s capital who bravely responded to the scene and prevented this tragedy from claiming even more lives.
“From my time as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, I understand the importance of seamless cooperation at every level of government in investigations like this one. The full resources of the Department of Justice will continue to be made available to support our law enforcement partners as our nation responds to this latest mass shooting.”
After her husband of 18 years left for work Monday morning, Jacqueline Alston began her usual morning routine watching repeats of her favorite show, “The Jeffersons.”
It was when she flipped the channels that she heard about the tragedy happening at her husband’s workplace, Navy Yard. The news got worse. It happened in building 197, where Ernest Johnston had worked since 2008.
“I called him, and I called him, but it went straight to voicemail,” Alston said. “I just have to trust in God.”
She walked up to her workplace, Nationals Park. That’s where she heard on the news that families could be reunited with loved ones. She teared up all afternoon as she waited, giving interviews to any media who asked, joking that they had all become her fans.
Then, she went home. She was assigned to usher the game at the stadium, which at that point was still scheduled to go on.
“Life has to go on,” she said. “No matter what happens, God is in charge.”
At around 5 p.m., she received a phone call.
“He’s all right,” she told The Post before thanking the “Man In Charge.”
Johnston didn’t want to talk; he was too tired. He was still locked down in the building and dreamed of coming home to a good dinner.
Alston was already rushing to prepare chicken cacciatore, his favorite meal.
“It was the best phone call,” she said.
— Robert Samuels
A candlelight vigil has been organized for downtown Washington in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Freedom Plaza.
There will be a candlelight vigil for Navy Yard Victims tonight at 7:30 in D.C. at Freedom Plaza. Come out & show your support if avail.
— DC Maryland Virginia (@DMVFollowers) September 16, 2013
A pair of Navy seamen raised the American flag, and the staccato rhythm of the morning bugle call, Reveille, crackled over the loudspeakers at 8 a.m, marking the official beginning of the work week at the Washington Navy Yard.
Being a military hub, however, hundreds were much further into their Monday morning than official Washington. Workers were already settling into their workdays when there was the sound.
A conference table falling, Anthony Salemi thought, “we’re always setting up for seminars and things like that, I figured the leg had collapsed, and one had fallen.” Maybe a filing cabinet fell over, thought Brian Lynn Chaney, two floors below him.
“Then, immediately, I heard someone yell ‘call 9-1-1,’ and I knew it was a shooting,” Salemi said. He turned toward the staircase, but still couldn’t imagine what was about to unfold. “I thought maybe it was a suicide, we’ve had a couple of those in the last few months. One guy jumped off the fourth floor garage.”
But a second cacophony of gunfire shattered Salemi’s hope that the tragedy was over. Bang, bang, bang. The shots were deafening. Salemi’s calm stride broke into a sprint. A floor below, retired Navy Captain Mark Vandroff had heard the initial sound too, and wondered, but now there was no mistaking.
“After that, people started screaming, close the doors, close the doors,” Vandroff said.
President Obama has ordered flags to half-staff at the White House and all federal government and U.S. military facilities around the world until sunset on Friday.
Obama ordered the flags lowered “As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence,” according to a White House proclamation.
President Obama called Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to express his condolences after today’s shooting, according to the White House. He also commended the Navy personnel and local law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting.
Obama has been briefed throughout the day by staffers regarding the ongoing situation in the Navy Yard.
The White House has postponed a concert scheduled for Monday evening to honor Latin music stars due to the Navy Yard shootings.
“In light of today’s tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard and out of respect for the victims and their families, Musica Latina will be postponed to a new date,” the White House said in a statement.
Today’s Nationals game was postponed due to the shooting right near the ballpark. The live scoreboard on Major League Baseball’s site currently shows this image explaining the postponement:
Uber, the increasingly popular mobile-based car service, is offering free rides home to Navy Yard workers affected by today’s shooting. Uber drivers are picking up employees at Parking Lot B near the Nationals Park.
We’re at Parking Lot B near Nats Park to help with rides home. All rides from Navy Yard area this afternoon are free. #NavyYardShooting
— Uber DC (@Uber_DC) September 16, 2013
Flags at the U.S. Capitol will be lowered until the evening of Sept. 20 in remembrance of those killed in the shooting Monday at the Washington Navy Yard, according to senior House aides.
Flags have been lowered at the Capitol in response to previous mass shootings, including after the December shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Gregory Dade, a Navy contractor, said he and a co-worker locked themselves in a second floor office of Building 197 as soon as the shooting started Monday morning.
He said the shooting continued in fits and stops for the next 45 minutes to an hour. Dade, a veteran, described it as “terrifying.”
“You read the news and watch the movies, but you never believe something like this could happen,” Dade said.
He heard the terror unfold. He heard a woman scream, glass crashing and a seemingly unending series of shots. He called his wife. He called his office, but he never opened the door.
Finally, about 11 a.m., he heard noises in the hallway and glanced out. Someone waived for him to evacuate, and he and his co-worker made a break for it.
They made it to an exit for Building 197, where they noticed a trail of blood running to the next building over. They headed that way and remained locked down in 201 until the lockdown was lifted Monday afternoon.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has issued a statement on the Navy Yard shootings:
“This has been a dark day, and we know more of them lie ahead for the families of the victims. Hoping that they find comfort – and answers – is at the top of our minds. Next, we ought to say ‘thank you’ to the first responders and law enforcement professionals – including Capitol Police – who did their jobs and saved lives.
“These events strike a particularly personal chord for all of us on Capitol Hill. Every day, a special breed of men and women go to work at the Navy Yard, and they do so just blocks from our Capitol. These are our neighbors and our defenders. So I would ask all the members, officers, and staff of the House of Representatives to take a moment tonight to think about everyone at the Navy Yard, and keep them in your hearts. I pray that we never forget their service and sacrifice.”
Valerie Parlave, assistant director of the D.C. FBI field office, confirms the dead Navy Yard shooting suspect is Aaron Alexis of Texas. (WJLA)
As workers prepare for the commute home, the active investigation into the shooting this morning continues to close streets in the Navy Yard area.
Streets between the 11th Street Bridge and South Capitol Street that feed into M Street are closed until further notice, according to police.
Metro bus and rail are running without incident. Riders on several Metrobus routes may experience delays due to street closures.
At least 13 people are dead following the shooting at the Navy Yard this morning (a number that includes the suspected gunman). Here’s a look at some of the deadliest shootings in the United States, a list that has been updated several times in recent years.
A lockdown on the Senate side of the Capitol Hill is being partially lifted to allow staffers to go home.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer said that no one other than Senate staffers will be allowed to enter Senate office buildings until regular business hours Tuesday morning.
The lockdown Monday afternoon “maximized your security, allowed the [U.S. Capitol Police] to concentrate on potential unknowns, on people approaching the complex, and provided additional time to gather information,” Gainer said in an e-mail to Senate staffers. “While this approach is inconvenient, it is at times necessary. The lessons of Boston, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Aurora are clear, and just still too raw.”
The two lawmakers who lead the House Armed Services Committee are taking note of today’s shooting at the Navy Yard, noting that it’s not the first time a U.S. military installation has been targeted in recent years.
Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said that “We’re saddened by today’s heartbreaking attack at the Washington Navy Yard. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve seen such a tragedy befall the patriotic personnel working at a U.S. Military installation. There is nothing more cowardly than targeting innocents, and we have full faith in military and law enforcement officials to bring the perpetrators to justice. We send our thoughts and prayers out to the victims and their families.”
“There’s 13 people who are dead, and probably a dozen or more who are wounded,” D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said at the news conference.
Valerie Parlave of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, speaking at a news conference, confirmed that Aaron Alexis has been identified as the suspected shooter.
“This remains a very active investigation,” said Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office.
“We are continuing to ask our residents and communities and businesses in the immediate area to shelter in place,” D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference this afternoon. “We are hoping in the next couple of hours to have information one way or the other on whether we can conclusively say we have all suspects or persons involved in this accounted for.”
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, speaking at a news conference, said that 13 people were killed in this morning’s shooting. He said that number included the shooter, who has been identified as Aaron Alexis.
Gray said authorities don’t know the motive yet behind the shooting.
“We don’t have any reason at this stage to suspect terrorism, but certainly it has not been ruled out,” he said.
Police are investigating whether the identification of former Navy petty officer Rollie Chance was used by Alexis to enter the Navy Yard compound. Federal investigators visited Chance’s home today.
A relative of Chance said in a telephone interview that Chance, from Stafford, Va., was not at the Navy Yard and was neither a witness nor a suspect and asked the media to leave the family alone.
— Carol Leonnig
Reddit has banned a section on the site devoted to finding the Navy Yard shooters, reports Andrea Peterson over at The Switch. As Peterson writes, a section focused on looking for the Boston Marathon bombers earlier this year resulted in some people being falsely identified as suspects. Head to The Switch for more.
Wilma Glover was one of hundreds of Department of Transportation workers who rushed toward the Navy Yard Metro station after a lockdown was lifted on their building.
Glover said she and other employees had to remain inside from 8:30 a.m. until around 3 p.m.
She described the day as “nervous, frantic” as employees checked the news for updates on the shooting and supervisors came around doling out information about the lockdown.
Glover said she did not have lunch, and others had not eaten.
“I’m happy (it’s over), and I want to go home,” the Forestville resident said.
Several key streets remain closed in the Navy Yard area as the investigation into this morning’s shooting continues. The District Department of Transportation just released this map showing which streets are closed:
Three law enforcement officials have identified the dead suspect as Aaron Alexis, a man in his 30s from Texas.
Senate buildings on Capitol Hill are on lockdown as a precaution, according to a message sent to Senate staffers shortly after 3 p.m. by the Senate Sergeant at Arms.
“You may move about the building; however, for the next two hours you may not leave nor can anyone enter the building. This will be in effect until we deem the situation safe in the neighboring community,” the e-mail says. “We do not have any information to suggest the Senate, its Members, or staff are in any danger, but out of an abundance of caution, we feel this is the best course of action to keep everyone safe. This is being done in consultation with Chief Kim Dine, U.S. Capitol Police.”
More information was expected to be shared with staffers around 5 p.m.
— Ed O’Keefe
The Nationals game against Atlanta has been postponed, Adam Kilgore reports. The team will play a doubleheader on Tuesday with games at 1 and 7 p.m. The ballpark is near the Navy Yard.
Spoke with Davey Johnson. Game cancelled. Split doubleheader tomorrow at 1 and 7, he says.
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) September 16, 2013
With top D.C. officials confirming 12 dead, the Navy Yard shooting represents the worst loss of life in a single incident within the District of Columbia since an airliner plunged into the Potomac River in 1982, killing 78.
Air Florida Flight 90 struck the 14th Street Bridge before crashing into icy waters on Jan. 13, 1982 — a day that also saw a Metro train derail in a downtown tunnel, killing three.
The death toll from the shooting now eclipses the 2009 collision of two Red Line Metro trains near Fort Totten, which killed nine.
While the District is home to numerous high-profile potential targets that have attracted armed madmen, it has largely avoided large-scale episodes of violence. The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks killed 125 at the Pentagon in Arlington, but there were no casualties within the District proper.
In 1977, gunmen affiliated with the Hanafi Muslim sect shot two to death at the District Building as a part of a three-building siege.
In 1998, a mentally disturbed man shot and killed two Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol building.
One of the 10 people killed during the 2002 Beltway Sniper spree was shot within the D.C. borders.
In 2009, a white supremacist shot and killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; the shooter later died after being wounded in the firefight.
In 1954, armed Puerto Rican nationalists entered the Capitol and opened fire on lawmakers from the House gallery, wounding five but killing none.
The cluster of D.C. public schools that have been locked down Monday because of the Navy Yard shootings will follow their regular afternoon dismissal schedule, a school system spokeswoman said.
Melissa Salmanowitz, the spokeswoman for D.C. Public Schools, said that the normal routine will be followed for children leaving the affected schools. Those students who are normally walkers can walk, she said, and those who are normally picked up can be picked up.
In all, eight DCPS campuses were affected by the lockdown, according to the school system Web site: Amidon-Bowne ES, Brent ES, Eastern SHS, Eliot-Hine MS, Jefferson Academy, Tyler ES, Payne ES and Watkins ES.
The office of Paul A. Quander Jr., deputy mayor of the District, just tweeted that the white male being sought by authorities has been identified and is not a suspect. Quander’s office confirmed the tweet to us moments ago.
Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis spoke with Nia-Malika Henderson on the emotions that mass shootings spark for him, and how he recovered after the 1999 tragedy at his Colorado high school. (On Background/The Washington Post)
A spokeswoman for the D.C. Public Charter School Board said city police have advised public charter schools affected by the lockdown today to follow their normal afternoon dismissal schedule.
The spokeswoman, Theola Labbe-Debose, said that extra security is being sent to several schools to ensure safety of students at dismissal. But she said one school — Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts — will have a special dismissal procedure. At that school, located at 770 M St. SE, police plan to escort students to a pickup point at 8th and Eye Streets Southeast, Labbe-Debose said.
— Nick Anderson
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) closed down the Senate for the remainder of the day after the shootings at the Navy Yard. An originally scheduled 5:30 p.m. vote on a noncontroversial judicial nomination was put off until Tuesday morning, Reid said.
— Paul Kane
The Washington Nationals are scheduled to host the Atlanta Braves tonight at Nationals Park. Nats manager Davey Johnson told James Wagner that he believes the teams are still going to play.
Davey Johnson says players are being told they can come to Nats Park. The game? "I think we’re going to play. We’re here. I don’t know."
— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) September 16, 2013
A Braves spokesman told The Post that the team was cleared to head to Nationals Park, despite the ballpark being right near an active investigation.
For more, head over to Nationals Journal.
D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said police “have reason to believe” the two potential suspects were involved in this morning’s shootings.
“Right now, we have multiple pieces of information that would suggest we have at least two other individuals seen with firearms,” Lanier said.
D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said in a news conference that authorities are still looking for two potential suspects. She said one was a white male wearing a tan uniform that appears to be a military uniform along with a beret-style hat, while the other suspect is a black male between the ages of 40 and 50 wearing an olive military-style outfit.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said in a news conference moments ago that there are at least 12 dead following the shooting at the Navy Yard this morning.
There were also some additional injuries, Lanier said.
Lanier said that local officials are now transferring the investigation to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Two law enforcement officials tell The Washington Post that there are nine dead following the shooting this morning. That number includes the shooter.
Navy Commander Tim Jirus describes the chaotic scene after the shooting began at the Washington Navy Yard. (The Washington Post)
Metro transit officials said the 92, 96, 90 and V7 bus routes have been impacted since the incident at Navy Yard began this morning and are likely to face delays throughout the afternoon due to street closures in the area.
Metrorail has not been impacted by the situation.
Officials also said that half a dozen canine units from Metro and six buses are assisting D.C. police.
DDOT spokesman Reggie Sanders said the Department of Transportation is currently trying to plan for the pending exit of employees from Navy Yard, where all personnel have been ordered to shelter in place.
“We’re trying to come up with a plan to accommodate the evening rush,” he said.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors issued a statement on Monday offering aid to anyone who lost a loved one in the Navy Yard shooting. The organization, which provides care for families of fallen soldiers, said it “stands ready to assist family and friends of those who have lost a loved one.” In addition, the shooting “may trigger flashback or emotions” that could traumatize military families, TAPS warned.
Anyone who needs assistance should call 1-800-959-TAPS (8277).
It’s been nearly five hours since shots were fired at the Navy Yard. Many details have been reported since the shooting, but much remains unclear.
We still don’t know precisely how many shooters there were at the Navy Yard. There is one shooter dead at the scene, but D.C. police warn there may be as many as two other potential shooters at large. There is no confirmation yet on the identity of the dead shooter (though multiple media outlets have reported, and retracted, one possible identity, because we didn’t learn anything from the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year).
We also still don’t know how many people were injured or killed this morning. Authorities have confirmed that there are at least seven people dead, which includes the shooter, but none of these people have been identified yet.
As always, these situations are fluid. We will bring you the latest news here and in our main story on the shooting.
Contractors including Northrop Grumman, TASC and Huntington Ingalls said all of their employees had been accounted for, but others were still trying to complete a count. Booz Allen Hamilton, for instance, said they still have one employee unaccounted for.
D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said one suspect in the Navy Yard shootings was killed, but said there are potentially two other suspects at large. She describes the potential suspects and said anyone with information should call D.C. police.
Here’s an interactive map showing the area of the Navy Yard impacted by the shooting today.
A U.S. official, speaking on background to Craig Whitlock, confirms that at least seven are dead.
Mass shootings during Obama presidency: Fort Hood, Binghamton, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, Navy Yard.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) September 16, 2013
President Obama on Monday expressed sympathy for the victims of the shooting in the Navy Yard in Southeast Washington and said justice must be sought.
“I’ve been briefed by my team on the situation. We still don’t know all the facts, but we do know that several people have been shot and some have been killed. So we are confronting yet another mass shooting, and it happened again on a military installation.
“I’ve made it clear to my team that we want the investigation to be seamless, so that local and federal authorities are working together.”
Obama expressed sympathy for the victims and those close to them. He called it a “tragedy.”
Obama was speaking on the fifth anniversary of the 2008 economic collapse and the progress being made.
Police say at least seven people have been killed, and there might be as many as three shooters. They say one of the suspected shooters is dead, and they are looking for two other possible suspects.
A man in his 60s, brought to George Washington University Hospital with a gunshot wound to his head, was pronounced dead within a minute of arriving this morning.
The man, who was not identified, was brought to the hospital at around 9 a.m. with a gunshot wound to the left temple.
“His wound was not survivable,” said Dr. Babak Sarani, director of trauma and acute surgery at George Washington Hospital.
The hospital is prepared to receive more patients, but they don’t know if they will.
The Pentagon is increasing its security “as a proactive, precautionary measure,” spokesman George Little said in a statement.
“This is a fluid situation,” Little said. “Navy officials are working closely with law enforcement and emergency management representatives from the FBI and the District of Columbia to secure the scene and begin the investigation.”
The most recent blog post of the Naval District Washington, a large regional agency based in Navy Yard, encouraged local employees to review emergency procedures and sign up for phone and e-mail alerts in case of a disaster.
The timing of the post, published on Sept. 12, is particularly tragic in light of this morning’s rampage. It was written to coincide with National Emergency Preparedness Month, an annual awareness campaign sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It begins:
September brings many changes to Naval District Washington (NDW); cooler temperatures, changing leaves, football season. But it also begins a time of safety, readiness and preparation.
September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. A time when everyone should ask themselves the question, “Am I Navy ready?”
The post goes on to reference different security programs and procedures that Navy employees should know in case of a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorism or mass shooting event. It also encourages them to register for resources like Ready Navy, an emergency preparedness and education program, and the Wide Area Alert Network (WAAN), an emergency notification system.
Per Ready Navy, Navy personnel and contractors are expected to recognize the mass warning systems in their buildings and know the evacuation routes and shelter locations there.
Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist at the Navy Yard, describes hearing gunfire and how difficult it would be for anyone to enter the Navy Yard building without showing proper identification.
Anwar Ogiste, a telecom engineer at the Naval Sea Systems Command at the Washington Navy Yard, describes what he’s heard from fellow employees at the scene of Monday’s shooting.
D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said in a news conference that authorities are looking for “potentially two other shooters,” with one shooter dead at the scene.
“The big concern for us right now is that we have potentially two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Lanier said.
She said one shooter involved in the situation is dead following the shooting.
Lanier said that one of the shooters was a white male seen at around 8:40 a.m. this morning with a khaki tan military uniform and a beret. He was last seen with a handgun, she said. And she said police are also looking out for a black man, approximately 50 years old, who may have been in possession of a “long gun.” That man was wearing an olive military-style uniform.
Police are asking anyone with information on these two people to call 202-727-9099.
“Right now, and this is very, very preliminary, we have one MPD officer who was shot,” she said. That officer is in stable condition, she said.
She also said there are “multiple” dead victims inside the building, but declined to offer an exact number.
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, speaking near the Navy Yard, said that so far it appears that the shooting was an isolated event.
“We’re still trying to confirm the number of fatalities involved, and we’ll have to do that later,” he said. “As far as we know, this is an isolated incident.”
The D.C. police’s active shooter team “engaged at least one person” after the shooting, Gray said.