Police now believe two shooters, including one in fatigues, have killed four people and wounded eight others at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, throwing the region into fear and chaos during the morning commute.
At least one of the shooters is “down,” police said mid-morning, but it was unclear whether that means the suspect has been arrested or shot. They said the other suspect remains at large, and police believe they have pinned down one between the third and fourth floors of one of the buildings on the installation in Southeast Washington.
Police on the scene said at least eight civilians were shot, along with the two police officers. One is a D.C. Metro Police officer who was shot twice in the leg and was evacuated on a helicopter that took off from a rooftop, police said. The other officer worked at the base. Except for the officer who was taken away by helicopter, all the other injured were being treated on the ground, police said.
Ed Buclatin, that public affairs chief for the Navy Installations Command tweeted “four killed and eight injured” at the Navy Yard.
A Navy Yard employee reached by telephone shortly before 10 a.m. said employees are still being told to shelter in place. She did not hear the shots, but described sirens, SWAT teams, Marines and a helicopter responding.
The U.S. Navy said that three shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where about 3,000 people work.
In a number of tweets from the base, employees expressed their fright. One tweet said people were stuck on the fourth floor of the headquarters building, while the shooter was firing from the third floor. Others wrote of being incredulous that a shooter could get inside the building.
Two Navy yard employees interviewed on CNN said they were fired on in a hallway by a gunman they described as a tall black man.
A woman who gave her name as Terry Durham said that as she and co-workers were evacuating, she saw a man down the hall raise a rifle and fire toward them, hitting a wall. “He was tall. He appeared to be dark-skinned,” she said.
“He was a tall black guy,” said her co-worker, Todd Brundage, who is black. “He didn’t say a word.”
One man who said he was at his desk on the second floor when the shooting began recalled hearing a loud noise “like someone dropping an old metal desk.” The man, who declined to give his name, said there was a pause, then several noises close together and he realized the danger: “There’s a shooter in the building. I started walking toward the door and I heard people running down the hall.”
Employees described the chaos, as a fire alarm sounded and people shouted, “Where is he? Where is he?”
Police closed the 11th St Bridge as well as M St SE between 2nd and 4th streets SE due to the shooting. Entrances to the Navy Yard Metro station remain open.
U.S. Capitol Police confirmed enhanced security at the Capitol, but no immediate threat.
Tyler Elementary School at 10th and G streets in Southeast was on lockdown.
As helicopters circled overhead and emergency vehicles continued to rush to the scene, crowds of onlookers gathered on sidewalks and at a construction site near the Navy Yard, but police pushed them back, yelling at them to keep a distance from the grounds.
President Obama has been briefed on the situation at the Washington Navy Yard, according to a White House official who asked not to be identified because the situation was still fluid.
“The President has been briefed several times about the unfolding situation at the Washington Navy Yard by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromanaco,” the official said. “The President directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and FBI, as well as the local officials. We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site.”
At least 12 people are dead and others were wounded after a shooter opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, police said, spreading fear and chaos across the region as authorities tried to contain the incident.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier announced the mounting death toll in a 2 p.m. news conference. The suspected shooter, identified by three law enforcement officials as Aaron Alexis, a man in his 30s from Texas, is among the dozen dead.
But hours after the rampage began, it was still unclear whether the shooting was the act of a lone gunman, or if other shooters were involved. Lanier initially said authorities were looking for two other potential shooters dressed in military style clothing. But shortly after she announced a detailed description of two suspects, city officials said one had been located and cleared.
[For up to the minute information about the shooting, check The Post’s live blog.]
Mayor Vincent C. Gray said no motive is known. He said they have no reason to believe it was an act of terrorism, though he said he could not rule it out.
Lanier described the other possible suspect, who has not been located, as a black man in his 40s with gray sideburns, wearing an olive-drab military-style uniform.
Police are asking anyone with information on the suspect to call 202-727-9099.
Two law enforcement officials said the shooter is among the 12 dead. The dead shooter had an assault rifle and a handgun, two law enforcement officials said. One said he also had a shotgun.
The first, sketchy details about the suspect give no hints about what may have gone wrong.
Aaron Alexis, 34, grew up in Brooklyn with his mother, Sarah, and father, Anthony Alexis, according to his aunt Helen Weeks.
“We haven’t seen him for years,” Weeks said of her nephew in a telephone interview. “I know he was in the military. He served abroad. I think he was doing some kind of computer work.”
A 2007 Navy Times feature cites an Aaron Alexis as having graduated from Navy boot camp that year from the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. Its unclear if this is the same Alexis, but the newspaper listed his occupational specialty as an airman recruit. A deleted web profile of an Aaron Alexis listed him as being stationed at Naval Air Station, Fort Worth, Tex.
Officials said police theorize that there may be additional shooters because of witness accounts and surveillance video among other information. One of those officials also said all the weapons were not accounted for.
At least two police officers were among those shot. Police on the scene said one is a D.C. police officer who was shot twice in the leg and was evacuated to a hospital. Lanier said he was in stable condition after engaging the shooter with gunfire. The other was a base officer. The D.C. officer, a male, was conscious at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and his chances for survival were good, hospital officials said.
Janis Orlowski, the chief medical officer at Washington Hospital Center, said three victims in all were brought to the center, all in critical condition but alert, responsive and able to talk with doctors. The victims were also able to speak briefly to law enforcement officers before undergoing surgery or treatment, she said.
The other two victims at the hospital were female civilians, Orlowski said at a news conference. All are likely to survive.
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