Navy Yard death toll now at 12; police looking for second possible gunmen (VIDEO)

Investigators: No motive established for shooting rampage

A U.S. Park Police helicopter removes a man in a basket from the Washington Navy Yard Monday, Sept. 16, 2013.    Earlier in the day, the U.S. Navy said it was searching for an active shooter at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work.  The exact number of people killed and the conditions of those wounded was not immediately known.

A U.S. Park Police helicopter removes a man in a basket from the Washington Navy Yard Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Navy said it was searching for an active shooter at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work. The exact number of people killed and the conditions of those wounded was not immediately known.

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Washington Navy Yard Shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — As many as two gunmen launched an attack Monday morning inside the Washington Navy Yard, spraying gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation’s capital, authorities said. At least 12 people were killed.

One gunman was dead after he fired on a police officer, and police hunted for a second possible attacker who may have been disguised in a military-style uniform, authorities said. It wasn’t clear how the gunman died.

Investigators said they had not established a motive for the shooting rampage, which unfolded less than four miles from the White House. As for whether it may have been a terrorist attack, Mayor Vincent Gray said: “We don’t have any reason to think that at this stage.”

The FBI took charge of the investigation. The dead gunman was identified as Aaron Alexis by two federal law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

One of those officials said Alexis, 34, was from Texas and is believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else’s identification card. It is not yet clear if that person was an accomplice or if the ID was stolen.

President Barack Obama mourned yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American patriots. Obama promised to make sure “whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible.”

In addition to the dead, at least three people were wounded.

The area where the rampage took place, known as Building 197, was part of the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. The yard is a labyrinth of buildings protected by armed guards at gates and metal detectors, and employees have to show their IDs to come and go.

About 3,000 people work at the headquarters, many of them civilians.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people in the cafeteria on the main floor. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway. It was not clear whether the witnesses on different floors were describing the same gunman.

Around midday, police said they were searching for two men who may have taken part in the attack — one carrying a handgun and wearing a tan Navy-style uniform and a beret, the other armed with a long gun and wearing an olive-green uniform. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was unclear if the men were members of the military.

But later in the day, police said in a tweet that the man in the tan uniform had been identified and was not involved in the shooting.

It was not immediately clear whether the number of dead included a gunman.

As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded streets around the complex, a helicopter hovered overhead, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.

A short distance away, security was beefed up at the Capitol and other federal buildings, but officials said there was no known threat.

Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.

“He just turned and started firing,” Brundidge said.

Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said she also saw the gunman firing toward her and Brundidge.

“He aimed high and missed,” she said. “He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, ‘Get out of the building.”’

Rick Mason, a civilian program-management analyst for the Navy who works on the fourth floor of the building, said a gunman was firing from the overlook in the hallway outside his office.

Shortly after the gunfire, Mason said, someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter and later to head for the gates at the complex.

Patricia Ward, a logistics-management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria getting breakfast.

“It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running,” Ward said.

Ward said security officers started directing people out of the building with guns drawn.

Posted at 2:20 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — As many as two gunmen opened fire Monday morning inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing at least 12 people in an attack on office workers at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation’s capital, authorities said.

One gunman was dead, and police hunted for a second possible attacker who may have been disguised in a military-style uniform, police said.

Investigators said they had not established a motive for the shooting rampage, which unfolded less than four miles from the White House. As for whether it may have been a terrorist attack, Mayor Vincent Gray said: “We don’t have any reason to think that at this stage.”

The FBI took charge of the investigation.

President Barack Obama mourned yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American patriots. Obama promised to make sure “whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible.”

The area that was targeted, known as Building 197, was part of the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. About 3,000 people work at the headquarters, many of them civilians.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people in the first-floor cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway. It was not clear whether the witnesses on different floors were describing the same gunman.

Around midday, police said they were searching for two men who may have taken part in the attack — one carrying a handgun and wearing a tan Navy-style uniform and a beret, the other armed with a long gun and wearing an olive-green uniform. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was unclear if the men were members of the military.

But later in the day, police said in a tweet that the man in the tan uniform had been identified and was not involved in the shooting.

It was not immediately clear whether the number of dead included a gunman.

As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded streets around the complex, a helicopter hovered overhead, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.

A short distance away, security was beefed up at the Capitol and other federal buildings, but officials said there was no known threat.

Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.

“He just turned and started firing,” Brundidge said.

Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said she also saw the gunman firing toward her and Brundidge.

“He aimed high and missed,” she said. “He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, ‘Get out of the building.”’

Rick Mason, a civilian program-management analyst for the Navy who works on the fourth floor of the building, said a gunman was firing from the overlook in the hallway outside his office.

Shortly after the gunfire, Mason said, someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter and later to head for the gates at the complex.

Patricia Ward, a logistics-management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria getting breakfast.

“It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running,” Ward said.

Ward said security officers started directing people out of the building with guns drawn.

One person died at George Washington University Hospital of a single gunshot wound to the left temple, said Dr. Babak Sarani, director of trauma and acute care surgery. A police officer and two civilian women were in critical condition at Washington Hospital Center, said Janis Orlowski, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

Orlowski said the police officer was in the operating room with gunshot wounds to the legs. The police chief said the officer was wounded when he engaged the shooter who later died.

One woman at the hospital had a gunshot wound to the shoulder. The other had gunshot wounds to the head and hand.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, was at the base at the time the shooting began but was moved unharmed to a nearby military installation

Anxious relatives and friends of those who work at the complex waited to hear from loved ones.

Tech Sgt. David Reyes, who works at Andrews Air Force Base, said he was waiting to pick up his wife, Dina, who was under lockdown in a building next to where the shooting happened. She sent him a text message about being on lockdown.

“They are under lockdown because they just don’t know,” Reyes said. “They have to check every building in there, and they have to check every room and just, of course, a lot of rooms and a lot of buildings.”

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy’s entire budget. Only security personnel were allowed to be armed on the grounds.

Mason, the program management analyst for the Navy, said there are multiple levels of security to reach his office. Everyone must show a building ID to get through a main gate, and at the building entrance, everyone must swipe a badge to pass through either a door or gate, depending on the entrance.

That “makes me think it might have been someone who works here,” he said.

The Navy Yard has three gates, according to its website. One is open around the clock and must be used by visitors. A second gate is only for military and civilian Defense Department employees. The third gate is for bus traffic.

The Navy Yard is part of a fast-growing neighborhood on the banks of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, blocks from the Nationals Park baseball stadium.

———

Associated Press writers Jesse Holland, Stacy A. Anderson, Brian Witte and Ben Nuckols in Washington contributed to this report.

Posted at 11:21 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, and officials said six people were killed and at least four were wounded, including a law enforcement officer.

Police were looking for two other potential gunmen wearing military-style uniforms, including one who had on a beret, chief Cathy Lanier said. One had a long gun and the other was also armed, she said. One of the three gunmen had died, though Lanier didn’t say how.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from the fourth floor, aiming down on people in the first-floor cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway. It wasn’t clear whether the witnesses on different floors were describing the same gunman.

As witnesses emerged from the building, a helicopter hovered over it, schools were on lockdown and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were briefly grounded so they wouldn’t interfere with law enforcement helicopters. Less than 2 miles away, security was beefed up at the Capitol, but officials said there was no known threat there. President Barack Obama was getting frequent briefings on the shooting.

Two Navy officials confirmed at least six people had died. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

About 3,000 people work at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, which builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and combat systems.

Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway of their building on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.

“He just turned and started firing,” Brundidge said.

Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said she also saw the gunman firing toward her and Brundidge.

“He aimed high and missed,” she said. “He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, ‘Get out of the building.”’

Rick Mason, a program management analyst who is a civilian with the U.S. Navy, said a gunman was shooting from a fourth floor overlook in the hallway outside his office. He said the gunman was aiming down at people in the building’s cafeteria. Mason said he could hear the shots but could not see a gunman.

Shortly after the gunfire, Mason said someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter and later to head for the gates at the complex.

Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria.

“It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running,” Ward told reporters several blocks away from the Navy Yard.

Ward said security officers started directing people out of the building with guns drawn.

Police and federal agents from multiple law enforcement agencies responded. Ambulances were parked outside, streets in the area were closed and departures from Reagan National Airport were temporarily halted for security reasons.

Janis Orlowski, chief operating officer of Washington Hospital Center, told reporters the hospital was treating three gunshot victims in critical condition. One was Washington, D.C., metropolitan police officer and two were civilian women.

A U.S. Park Police helicopter hovered over the building and appeared to drop a basket with a person onto the roof.

District of Columbia schools officials said 12 public and charter schools and one administrative building in the vicinity of the Navy Yard were placed on lockdown. The action was taken out an abundance of caution, schools spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz said.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy’s entire budget. Only security personnel were allowed to be armed on the campus.

The Navy Yard has three gates, according to its website. One is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and must be used by any visitors. A second gate is only for military and civilian Defense Department employees and the other is for bus traffic.

The Navy Yard is part of a fast-growing neighborhood on the banks of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, just blocks from Nationals Park.

Posted at 11:19 a.m. WASHINGTON (AP) — At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, and officials said six people were killed and as many as 10 were wounded, including a law enforcement officer.

A shooter had died, though it wasn’t immediately clear how, according to a Defense Department official and federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Two other officials have said police were looking into the possibility of a second shooter.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from the fourth floor, aiming down on people in the first-floor cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway.

As witnesses emerged from the building, a helicopter hovered over it, schools were on lockdown and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were briefly grounded. Less than 2 miles away, security was beefed up at the Capitol, but officials said there was no known threat there. President Barack Obama was getting frequent briefings on the shooting.

Two Navy officials confirmed at least six people had died. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

About 3,000 people work at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, which builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and combat systems.

Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway of their building on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.

“He just turned and started firing,” Brundidge said.

Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said she also saw the gunman firing toward her and Brundidge.

“He aimed high and missed,” she said. “He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, ‘Get out of the building.”’

Rick Mason, a program management analyst who is a civilian with the U.S. Navy, said a gunman was shooting from a fourth floor overlook in the hallway outside his office. He said the gunman was aiming down at people in the building’s cafeteria. Mason said he could hear the shots but could not see a gunman.

Shortly after the gunfire, Mason said someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter and later to head for the gates at the complex.

Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria.

“It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running,” Ward told reporters several blocks away from the Navy Yard.

Ward said security officers started directing people out of the building with guns drawn.

Police and federal agents from multiple law enforcement agencies responded. Ambulances were parked outside, streets in the area were closed and departures from Reagan National Airport were temporarily halted for security reasons.

Janis Orlowski, chief operating officer of Washington Hospital Center, told reporters the hospital was treating three gunshot victims in critical condition. One was Washington, D.C., metropolitan police officer and two were civilian women.

A U.S. Park Police helicopter hovered over the building and appeared to drop a basket with a person onto the roof.

District of Columbia schools officials said 12 public and charter schools and one administrative building in the vicinity of the Navy Yard were placed on lockdown. The action was taken out an abundance of caution, schools spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz said.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy’s entire budget. Only security personnel were allowed to be armed on the campus.

The Navy Yard has three gates, according to its website. One is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and must be used by any visitors. A second gate is only for military and civilian Defense Department employees and the other is for bus traffic.

The Navy Yard is part of a fast-growing neighborhood on the banks of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, just blocks from Nationals Park.

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