At 8:20 a.m. this morning several shots were fired inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Center located in southeast Washington. Authorities report that a tall gunman who wearing all black with a dark complexion fired shots and injured at almost a dozen people inside the Navy Yard.
Among the injured are a Washington police officer and a naval base security guard officer, according to Saray Leon, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department. They have since been admitted to MedStar Washington Hospital emergency. At least 10 people have multiple gunshot wounds, and several people were killed, according to a statement by the Defense Department. A suspect is dead after the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard and another is “down.” Officials have not confirmed whether or not there was another gunman. And an inquiry is going on as to whether or not there was another shooter.
According to the Huffington Post, SWAT teams, police, and local as well as federal agencies are at the scene and the President has been briefed and updated about the shooting. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a 20 person special agent team to the scene. This group was the same that helped apprehend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Witnesses on the scene say that they heard the fire alarm go off in their building, and that a man with a rifle went down the hallway. People were scared and couldn’t believe what they saw. One witness commented, “He aimed the gun and fired our way, I couldn’t believe it.” Nearby schools were shut down as well as airports and traffic in the region as a precaution.
The Washington Navy Yard is the Navy’s oldest land base. Started in 1799 and initially created to be a shipbuilding and fitting facility, it worked on some of the Navy’s most famous vessels early on. The place was burned down during the war of 1812, and was later refitted and rebuilt to become a center for cutting edge technological development. After WWII and the Cold War era, the Navy Yard’s military role decreased. At this time it is home to the naval museum and commercial as well as residential renewal. The Yard also serves as a ceremonial and administrative center. It is home to the Chief of Naval Operations, is the headquarters for the Naval Sea Systems Command, and is the home of the Naval Historical Center, the Department of Naval History, the U.S. Navy Band, and the Marine Corps Institute.