July 02, 2015
No evidence of a shooter have been found and no injuries have been reported at the Washington Navy Yard on Thursday morning, a Washington police department spokeswoman said two hours after initial reports emerged.
The spokeswoman said the police investigation was concluded and subsequent inquiries would be done by Navy authorities. An all clear has been declared at the facility after it was placed on lockdown following reports of a possible shooter.
Police had swarmed the Navy Yard amid heightened security concerns ahead of the U.S. July Fourth holiday weekend.
No further details were available about the incident at the Navy Yard, which is a mile south of the U.S. Capitol and 3 miles from the White House.
A caller told authorities that shots were heard in Building 197, according to multiple reports, the same one that was the scene of the 2013 killings by Aaron Alexis, a former sailor who was working for a government technology contractor at the Navy Yard. Twelve people were killed during the shooting spree. He was shot to death after an hour-long exchange with police.
Lieutenant Commander Scott Williams, 39, a guided missile engineer at the Navy Yard, was in the building on Thursday and the day of the 2013 shooting.
He told Reuters that police came to his office at about 7:30 a.m. EDT and escorted him and colleagues out.
"It was pretty much a mirror image of what happened in 2013," he said. "Here we go again."
Williams said security had been tightened after the 2013 incident with more ID checks and random bag searches.
During the Thursday lockdown employees were sheltered in place.
No further details were available about the incident, which comes amid heightened security concerns ahead of the U.S. July Fourth holiday weekend.
A police officer and local media said authorities responded to a report of an active shooter at the facility.
"No incident can be confirmed as of yet," the Navy said. "Investigation continues."
FOX5, the Fox News television affiliate in Washington, reported a shooting at the facility just after 7:30 a.m. EDT, citing multiple sources. NBC4, the local TV affiliate, said authorities were going building by building and room to room searching the compound. Reuters could not immediately verify the reports.
Live television showed a massive police presence in the area, and more than eight blocks of nearby roads were shut down as authorities responded to the scene, the Metropolitan Police Department said.
Police shut down traffic as they investigate reports of a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. (Associated Press/Andrew Harnik)
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had issued an alert calling for local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats during the holiday weekend.
#BREAKING: @NavalDistWashington Navy Yard on lockdown/shelter in place. No incident can be confirmed as of yet. More to follow.— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) July 2, 2015
The Pentagon ordered new security measures be put in place after the 2013 shooting at the Navy Yard. Alexis, a former sailor who was working for a government technology contractor at the facility, had reported hearing voices and being unable to sleep in the weeks leading up to the rampage.
The FBI said Alexis believed electromagnetic waves had been controlling him for the months before. He had had prior brushes with the law after firing a gun but the charges against him were dropped.