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Washington on LOCKDOWN as ‘shots fired’ at Navy Yard near US Congress

Jul 2, 2015

Police have surrounded the Navy Yard where military personnel are hiding in offices
Officials said the Washington Navy Yard campus near Capitol Hill was on lockdown after reports of shots from a building on the campus in Washington DC.

But Washington’s Mayor said this afternoon there was “no evidence of a shooter” on the loose after officers spent two hours searching the scene.

However the base remains in lockdown this afternoon as heavily armed teams of police and marines continue to comb every secure area to ensure that a gunman is not hiding in the facility.

In a live statement from the scene Mayor Muriel Bowser said: “The police were called and asked for assistance by officials at the navy yard. We understand that an employee at the navy yard shortly after 7.29am reported that she may have heard gunshots in the facility the police officials at the facility sent out the call to law enforcement in the area.

“Our police responded, our police went into the facility with the assistance of our federal partners. At this time there is no evidence of gunshots, there’s no evidence of a shooter and there’s no evidence of any victims today.

“I’m very proud of all the officials who answered the call, we know that there have been lots of lessons learned from previous incidents that have happened here at the navy yard and that we have found that there has been a clear co-ordinated and convincing response to this scene.”

Vice-admiral Dixon Smith from the US Navy added: The navy yard remains in lockdown and we’re finishing the final walkthrough now, opening up and checking all of our secure spaces.

“Assuming that we find nothing then we will open up the navy yard again.”

Announcements were made earlier on the yard’s loud speaker system urging people to “go to a secure area”, the wife of a systems integration manager at Naval Sea Systems Command said.

Nancy McCord said: “He said he’s safe, he’s in a conference room behind a number of big doors.

“There’s maybe 60 to 80 people in there, and they do feel secure right now. At this point, they don’t believe the shooter is in their building, thank goodness for that.”

She added: “He feels safe, but he’s distraught and upset. This is just like – wow, this is happening again.”

However, there were conflicting reports about whether shots had been heard, with some witnesses saying no shots had been fired.

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Navy security saw surveillance video of two people jumping the fence in the vicinity of the building a couple of minutes before the first report of gunfire.

But security found no one inside the building, the official said.

In 2013 lone gunman, military contractor Aaron Alexis, shot and killed 12 workers and injured three at the Washington Navy Yard.

Mrs McCord said her husband, Michael, had narrowly missed being shot by the gunman two years ago.

Mr McCord was in lockdown in Building 197 – the site of the deadly rampage in 2013 which has been renamed the Humphreys Building and was only re-opened last year.

Video footage showed armed US Marshals wearing body armour today outside the gates.

Large numbers of police vehicles were at the scene and the gates to the yard are shut, with no one being allowed to enter.

The US Navy tweeted: “Navy Yard on lockdown/shelter in place. No incident can be confirmed as of yet. More to follow.”

Security around the nearby White House and the US Capitol building has been heightened by the Pentagon, which runs the Navy base.

Defence officials said they were not increasing the terror threat yet.

The incident comes amid heightened security concerns ahead of the US Independence Day holiday weekend.

There were also reports this morning of a bomb at a mosque in New Jersey, but officials confirmed it was a hoax and warned: “We will try to find you wherever you are.”


Navy L Scott Williams said he he did not hear gunshots at the Washington base, but saw people running and someone shouted to “stay away from the cafeteria”.

He then took shelter with others in an office and was later escorted from the facility.

The police response was much better than two years ago, he added.

Describing the scene, he said it was “pretty much a mirror image” of 2013.

He added: “Brings back a lot of painful memories. It’s kind of hard.”


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