Armed police prepare to enter the Washington Navy Yard as they respond.
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray briefs reporters on the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.
District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier briefs reporters on the shooting.
Emergency personnel respond to a reported shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Members of the military guard a military garage near the Navy Yard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A U.S. Park Police helicopter removes a man in a basket from the Navy Yard Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Police work the scene on M Street, SE near the Washington Navy Yard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Police bring in equipment by an anchor outside of an entrance to the Navy Yard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A policeman work the scene on M Street S.E. in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
More on the Shooting
An active investigation into a Monday morning mass shooting is underway at Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard. Police officers are among the wounded, including one officer who was shot, according to the MPD. One police officer is currently at Washington Hospital Center and is expected to make a recovery, a hospital spokeswoman said at a 4 p.m. press conference.
The FBI has identified the slain shooter as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old man from Texas with a possible criminal record. According to the Forth Worth Star Telegram, the man was arrested in 2010 for discharging a firearm into a ceiling of a woman’s apartment. He was never charged. The AP reports he was a Navy reservist from 2007 to 2011. NBC news identifies him as a civilian contractor.
Despite earlier hunts for a second or third possible suspect in the violence, the dead gunman appears to be the only shooter.
The FBI’s Valerie Parlave describes the situation as “a very active investigation.” D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray confirms at a 4 p.m. press conference that 13, including the gunman, are dead.
“We don’t have any reason at this stage to suspect terrorism, but certainly it has not been ruled out,” Gray said.
Speaking about the other potential shooters at an earlier press conference, Lanier said, “We have no information to believe that either of those folks are military personnel, but we do have information that those individuals are wearing military style uniforms.”
You can see her full remarks here:
President Obama, speaking about the “horrific tragedy” just before a planned speech on the economic recovery, referred to the event as “yet another mass shooting.” He continued:
I’ve made it clear to my team that I want the investigation to be seamless so that federal and local authorities are working together. And as this investigation moves forward, we will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible.
In the meantime, we send our thoughts and prayers to all at the Navy Yard who have been touched by this tragedy. We thank them for their service. We stand with the families of those who have been harmed. They’re going to need our love and support.
And as we learn more about the courageous Americans who died today, their lives, their families, their patriotism, we will honor their service to the nation they helped to make great. And obviously, we’re going to be investigating thoroughly what happened as we do so many of these shootings, sadly, that have happened. And do everything that we can to try to prevent them.
The mayor, speaking from a yellow notepad at a press conference, said police are “still trying to confirm the number of fatalities,” and he called it an “isolated incident,” as far as authorities know.
By 1:30 PM, Tech Sergeant David Reyes of the U.S. Air Force was the only man in the crowd of reporters in green fatigues. At 8:30 this morning, his wife had texted him to say her Navy Yard building was on lock-down. Reyes, who works at Andrews, immediately turned on the television. Once he saw what was happening, he came to the scene.
Reyes’ wife works in the building next to where the shootings occurred, and was sheltered there. She works with many civilians, all of whom were pretty hungry, Reyes told National Journal. Reyes said the situation was something of a “logistics nightmare.” Around 3:20 reports indicated that Navy Yard workers were beginning to leave the facility.
A lone food cart remained open at the intersection of M and 3rd Streets, just a few blocks from the site of the shooting, serving food to reporters and the occasional passerby:
A friend of the vendor came to check on her friend as soon as she heard the news. “It’s a sad day for all of us,” she said. “I’m praying for everyone.”
The Navy confirmed that an active shooter was inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building at 8:20 AM, and a shelter-in-place order was issued for personnel.
Throughout the day, there were conflicting reports on the number of shooters at the scene. A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told The Washington Post earlier in the day that three were involved. The Post later updated its report to say that police believe there were two shooters on the scene, not three. The D.C.’s mayor’s office then cut that down to two.
A spokesperson for the Medstar Washington Hospital Center gave some indication of what type of weapon was used on the scene: “I would tell you from the reports of the victims, it was — it had to be a semiautomatic, because they are talking about gunshots that they heard in rapid succession.” You can see her full remarks here:
Much of Washington has been shut down as the search for potential shooters goes on. A little before 3 p.m., the Senate Sergeant at Arms announced that there would be a “shelter in place” for Senate offices, with no one entering or leaving the building for at least two hours. That was lifted for staffers around 5 p.m. The House is not in session and is not locked down, the House Sergeant at Arms saying they are relying on capitol police for security. Schools in the area were on lockdown, but were dismissed a normal schedule. All flights were grounded this morning at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, but that order has since been lifted.
A gunman was shooting from the fourth floor into the building’s cafeteria on the first floor, a witness told the Associated Press.
Here’s what you need to know about the Yard itself:
- The Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s commands, with a fiscal year budget of almost $30 billion. About 3,000 people work in the headquarters.
- The Navy Yard, which is a national historic landmark, was for decades known as a “ceremonial gateway” to D.C.
- Purchased in 1798, the Washington Navy Yard was established in October 1799 and built under the direction of the first secretary of the Navy.
- The yard has a firm place in U.S. history: In 1865, the Lincoln assassination conspirators were brought there after they were captured; including the body of John Wilkes Booth.
- The Navy Yard was ordered burned as the British marched on Washington during the War of 1812 to prevent its capture.
- Weapons designed and built at the yard were used in every U.S. war until the 1960s.
An aerial shot of the yard from 1991:
A torpedo shop at the yard during World War One:
(Library of Congress)
And a shot from between 1861-1865:
The Washington Navy Yard photographed between 1861 and 1865. (Library of Congress)
A map of the area: