Multiple Fatalities Reported in Washington Navy Yard Shooting

September 17, 2013

WASH­ING­TON — The po­lice were search­ing Mon­day morn­ing for an armed in­di­vid­ual af­ter a shoot­ing that in­volved mul­ti­ple fa­tal­i­ties at a na­val of­fice build­ing not far from Cap­i­tol Hill and the White House, ac­cord­ing to law en­force­ment of­fi­cials. 

September 16, 2013
WASHINGTON — The police were searching Monday morning for an armed individual after a shooting that involved multiple fatalities at a naval office building not far from Capitol Hill and the White House, according to law enforcement officials. At least 10 people were shot, including two police officers, and three people were in critical condition, officials said.

Hundreds of police officers and naval officers surrounded the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 service members, civilians and contractors work on the Navy’s fleet. Security at the Capitol was enhanced, and the local news media reported that several schools were put on lockdown.

An individual fired shots at 8:20 a.m. at the Washington Navy Yard, in the southeast part of the city, the Navy said on Twitter. Workers were told to shelter in place, and emergency personnel were on the scene.

Officials said the gunman remained at large, even as police officers from around the city began cordoning off the many streets around the Navy Yard. The gunman was barricaded, the police said.

Officials at MedStar Washington Hospital Center said three individuals with gunshot wounds, including one police officer, had arrived at the trauma center and were being treated.

Janis Orlowski, the chief medical officer at the hospital, said the three victims were in critical condition but were “alert” and “responsive,” even as doctors prepared for surgery.

“They do have severe injuries, but we’ve been able to speak to all of them,” Ms. Orlowski said. “We understand there are individuals who will not be transported because they are deceased.”

But she added that the authorities at the Navy Yard had told the hospital to expect more victims.

Of the three who had already arrived, she said, one had multiple gunshot wounds to the legs. Another was shot in the shoulder. The third had a gunshot wound to the head, she said.

“The operating room is ready for these individuals,” she said. “I have surgeons. I have nurses. We have trauma specialists. They have told us they believe there will be more victims coming.”

Ms. Orlowski said that she believed that the gun used in the attack was most likely a semiautomatic rifle.

“From the reports of the victims, it had to be a semiautomatic, because they are talking about shots in rapid fashion,” she said.

The Navy Yard is a secure military facility, with guards posted at gates and a large wall surrounding the buildings. It sits on the waterfront along the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, near Nationals Park, where Washington’s baseball team plays. It is also at one end of the 11th Street Bridge, one of the major thoroughfares that bring traffic into the city from Maryland.

The officer, whose condition was unknown, was taken to a hospital.

Military helicopters circled the facility as police vehicles and other emergency vehicles rushed to the Navy Yard. A helicopter lowered a basket to the roof of one of the buildings and appeared to be taking away victims.

Officials at the nearby Reagan National Airport briefly stopped airplanes from taking off or landing because of the shooting, according to a spokeswoman at the airport’s media office. The stoppage began just before 10 a.m. and was lifted at 10:14 a.m., said Laurie Weaver, the spokeswoman.

Officials at the White House said President Obama had been briefed several times Monday morning about the episode by Lisa Monaco, his counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, and Alyssa Mastromonaco, his deputy chief of staff.

“The president directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and F.B.I., as well as the local officials,” a White House statement said. “We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site.”

Employees who had been evacuated from the building described a chaotic situation as an individual armed with a rifle roamed the hallways shooting at people.

Cmdr. Tim Jirus said he was on the fourth floor of the building when he heard gunshots and saw people start running through the office.

“I heard a number of what I thought were like cap-gun shots, based on distance, inside the building,” he said.

Commander Jirus said he was at the back of the building working to get people out when a man came out of a maintenance building and approached him, asking about the shooting. Moments later, the man, a civilian, was shot in the head, Commander Jirus said.

“We had a conversation for about a minute,” he said. “I heard two gunshots, and he went down, and then I ran back here.”

Holding a radio as he waited outside the Navy Yard Metro station, Commander Jirus said he had heard that another man in his office, also a civilian, had been shot and evacuated to a hospital.

Asked how he escaped when the man next to him was shot, he said: “Luck. Grace of God. Whatever you want to call it.”

Emmarie Huetteman and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

Copyright. 2013. The New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved

 

 

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