An early morning shooting at DC’s Navy Yard has left at least 12 people dead, according to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. At least three people are in critical condition, and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier says officials have found “multiple victims inside [the building] that are deceased.”
One gunman is dead and police remain on the lookout for two armed perpetrators that police say may have been involved in the mass shooting.
“The big concern for us right now is that we potentially have two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Lanier says.
Lanier described one of the possible suspects as a white male between 40-50 years old wearing what seems to be a tan naval-style uniform with a beret. The other suspect is a black male, between 40-50 years old, with a medium complexion wearing what appears to be an olive, military-style uniform.
“There is no information to believe they are military personnel, but they are wearing military uniforms,” Lanier said, adding, “We have reason to believe these people may be involved and we want to talk to them.”
She also said that there was currently “no known motive” for the massacre.
Officials say the shooting began in Building #197 at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters, a workplace for around 3,000 employees. Early Monday morning a gunman walked in and shot a security guard, killing him immediately. The gunman then proceeded to walk through the building, appearing to target victims. He was eventually located and shot by members of an FBI Hostage Response Team.
A law enforcement official told Pat Milton of CBS News that the suspect was wearing dark blue and appeared to be armed with a shotgun, handgun, and an AR-15 assault rifle.
At a press conference on Monday, President Obama discussed the developing situation.
“We are confronting yet another mass shooting,” he told reporters. “And today it happened in a military installation in our nation's capital.”
The president added that these are men and women “who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us. They are patriots. They did not expect to be attacked at home while in their offices.”
The Navy first reported the incident on Twitter, stating that there was an “active shooter” at Building 197 at the Navy Yard, and that shots were fired at 8:20 a.m. ET.
Pentagon press secretary George Little said that the Pentagon is tightening security in the wake of the shootings.
“Everyone here at the Department of Defense is saddened by the incident at the Washington Navy Yard this morning,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.”
Little said that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is monitoring the situation.
“This is a fluid situation,” he said. “Navy officials are working closely with law enforcement and emergency management representatives from the FBI and the District of Columbia to secure the scene and begin the investigation.”
Terrie Durham along with co-worker Todd Brundivge had a horrifying firsthand encounter with the killer.
“We were standing right outside the door to go to the exit and we saw a man standing down the hall,” Durham described. She estimated that he was around 40 yards away, but she could see him clearly – and he saw her.
“He was a tall man, appeared to have dark skin, looked like he was in some kind of uniform and he had a rifle,” she recalled.
“He aimed at us and shot but missed, thank God."
Todd Brundivge says that the gunman was silent.
“No words. He raised the gun and started firing,” he described. “He said nothing.”
A police officer is among those wounded in the rampage, according to Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. The officer was shot in an exchange with the gunman.
“I think the actions by the police officers, without question, helped to reduce the number of lives lost,” Lanier said.
President Obama’s remarks on Monday began with a discussion of the shooting rampage before moving on to topics such as Syria and an update on the economy.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act will be held responsible,” President Obama said.
Kristin Wright is a columnist and contributing writer at ReligionToday.com, where she focuses on global human rights issues. Kristin has covered topics such as bride trafficking in North Korea, honor killings in Pakistan, and the persecution of members of minority faiths in Iran. She has visited with religious minorities in Pakistan, worked with children at risk in Mumbai's “Red Light” district, and interviewed individuals on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kristin recently returned from Turkey and the Syrian border, where she covered the plight of refugees fleeing the conflict. She can be contacted at Kristin@kristinwright.net.
Publication date: September 16, 2013