The nation’s capital went on high alert Monday after a shooting attack at the city’s U.S. Navy Yard that left at least 11 victims and one gunman dead. There were other people injured, though even many hours after the attack it remained unclear how many.
The grim death toll was raised just after 2 p.m. ET. when D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that 11 victims had been gunned down — a sharp, sobering increase from earlier estimates.
It was, President Obama told the nation, a “cowardly act … [on] men and women who were going to work, doing their jobs, protecting all of us.”
— At the Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, D.C., shots are fired around 8:20 a.m. ET.
— Washington D.C. police and other first responders rush to the scene.
— Around 10 a.m. ET, reports start to come in about multiple fatalities. In early afternoon, The Washington Post and some other news outlets say they had been told by authorities that seven people (including a gunman) were dead.
— Just after 2 p.m. ET. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier announces that 11 people were killed. Also dead: one gunman.
— Initially, there are reports about just one gunman. But shortly after noon ET, Lanier says that, “we potentially have two other shooters that we have not located.” Other law enforcement officials caution that in the confusion, witnesses may have been confused and thought that first responders were additional attackers.
“They were patriots,” he said of the victims.
While one gunman was reported to be dead at the scene, police officials said just after 12:15 p.m. ET that there were two other “potential” shooters they were looking for. Other law enforcement sources, though, cautioned that in the confusion some first responders might have been mistaken for additional attackers.
And just before 2:45 p.m. ET., D.C. Police announced that one of the potential other gunmen — “the white male in the tan outfit” — had been “identified and is not a suspect or person of interest.”
Citing a federal law enforcement source, NPR’s Carrie Johnson said police believe the dead suspected shooter was “a 34-year-old Texas man who has a concealed carry permit.”
Carrie said the man had a criminal record and the source told Carrie that he gained access to the secure military facility by using the ID of “a 50-odd year-old African American man who was recently dismissed from his job at the Navy Yard.”
The incident began around 8:20 a.m. ET when shots were fired around a building on the grounds of the facility in Southeast D.C., the Navy confirmed just minutes later.
Initially, there was word that only a few people had been injured and that only one gunman was responsible. Among those hurt, according to reports from emergency personnel, was a police officer who was struck at least twice.
But at 10:04 a.m. ET, the Navy added that there had been “reports of fatalities.” Federal law enforcement sources told NPR a short time later that there had been “multiple fatalities.”
Then Lanier, just after 2 p.m. ET., released the sad news that 11 people had been killed. In addition, a gunman was dead at the scene, she said.
It wasn’t clear in the first couple confusing hours whether there may have been more than one attacker. It was just after midday when Lanier said authorities were looking for two other “potential” gunmen. A federal law enforcement source, though, told NPR’s Carrie Johnson that it’s possible the other two possible attackers were police officers arriving at the scene.
Lanier, however, said in mid-afternoon that “we have multiple pieces of information that would suggest we have at least two other individuals who were seen with firearms.” Then about 45 minutes later, her department said it had found one of those men and cleared him of any suspicion.
We’re updating as more news comes in. Our colleagues at WAMU are following the story here. As happens when news such as this is breaking, there will be conflicting accounts. We’ll focus on information from authorities in a position to know what’s going on and from news outlets with reporters at or near the scene. If things change, we’ll pass along that information.
Update at 4:04 p.m. ET. Dead Suspect Is Aaron Alexis:
According to multiple federal sources, police believe the dead suspect is Aaron Alexis, who enlisted in the military May 7 and left Jan 2011.
Pentagon officials said he was an aviation electronics mate third class and was working as a contractor.
As we reported earlier, Alexis is a 34-year-old Texas man, who police believe used another man’s ID to gain access into the secure military facility. Alexis had a criminal record.
Update at 3:45 p.m. ET. Nationals Game Cancelled:
The Washington Nationals, which play ball in a stadium right down the street from the Navy Yard, have postponed tonight’s game against the Atlanta Braves.
The team said it will be made up as “split doubleheader (1:05 p/7:05p) on Tue., Sept. 17.”
Update at 3:23 p.m. ET. Suspected Shooter Is 34-Year-Old Texan:
“The deceased suspected shooter is a 34-year-old Texas man who has a concealed carry permit,” NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports, citing a federal law enforcement source. The man has at least one “charge of unlawful discharge of a firearm,” and has a law enforcement history.
Carrie reports that the suspect was using the ID of “a 50-odd year old African American man who was recently dismissed from his job at the Navy Yard in order to gain access to the facility.”
That man, the source says, is now in custody as a person of interest.
Update at 2:55 p.m. ET. One Potential Shooter ID’d And Is “Not A Suspect,” Police Say:
“The white male in the tan outfit has been identified and is not a suspect or person of interest,” the D.C. Police Department just said on its Twitter page.
Authorities are said to be still looking for a black male, 40-50 years old, about 5-feet 10-inches tall, with graying sideburns. He would be the other “potential” shooter that Chief Lanier spoke of earlier in the day.
Update at 2:40 p.m. ET. Deadliest Since Newtown And Fort Hood:
NBC News writes that “it was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December, and the worst at a military installation since 13 people were killed at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.”
Update at 2:15 p.m. ET. 11 Killed:
The death toll is substantially higher than earlier reported. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says there are 12 people dead at the scene — 11 victims and one gunman. She also says police continue to look for two other potential gunmen. “We have multiple pieces of information that would suggest we have at least two other individuals who were seen with firearms,” she tells reporters.
Update at 2:05 p.m. ET. “Shelter In Place” Order Still In Effect.
The Navy tweets that:
“Shelter in place order remains at Washington Navy Yard. More info to follow as confirmed. #NavyYardShooting“
Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. No Official Fatality Count Yet:
While The Washington Post, Reuters and some other news outlets are reporting that seven people (including one gunman) are dead, there’s no official word yet.
Update at 12:35 p.m. ET. “Cowardly Act”:
The federal government will do all it can to be sure that “whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible,” President Obama just said. The victims, said the president, were “men and women who were going to work, doing their jobs, protecting all of us. … They were patriots.”
Update at 12:18 p.m. ET. One Gunman Dead; Two Other Potential Shooters:
Police are on the lookout for two other potential “shooters,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier just told reporters. One gunman, she said, is dead at the scene.
Lanier described one of the potential shooters as a white male, possibly wearing a khaki Navy uniform, who was “last seen around 8:35 a.m” and may have been carrying a handgun.
The other potential shooter, she said, is a “black male approximately 50 years of age” who “may have been in possession of a long gun.”
Update at Noon ET. News Briefing, Obama Statement Coming:
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Mayor Vincent Gray are expected to brief reporters within the next few minutes. Hopefully, they’ll be able to clear up some of the conflicting information in the news media over the past hour (including that there may have been more than one shooter and that at least one attacker may be dead).
President Obama is also expected to soon make a statement.
Update at 11:44 a.m. ET. More On Fatalities:
“We understand that there are individuals at the scene who will not be transported [to a hospital] because they are deceased,” says Dr. Janis Orlowski of MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Update at 11:36 a.m. ET. Three Of Wounded In Critical Condition:
At the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, spokeswoman Dr. Janis Orlowski just told reporters that the three people brought there are in critical condition. They are expected to survive their gunshot wounds, she added.
Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. ATF Team At Scene:
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has about “20 specially trained, locally stationed special agents” at the scene, NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports. She says it’s the same team that was instrumental in capturing accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Update at 11:17 a.m. ET. Families Told To Gather At Nearby Stadium:
“Family members may reunite at Nationals Stadium Parking Lot B, South Capitol & N St SE,” the Navy tweets. (Earlier, the Navy mistakenly said the parking lot was at the corner of K St.)
Update at 11:08 a.m. ET. Federal Law Enforcement Sources Say There Have Been “Multiple Fatalities”:
Two federal law enforcement sources, who caution that the information is still preliminary, tell NPR’s Carrie Johnson that there have “multiple fatalities.”
Update at 10:55 a.m. ET. Building Being “Swept” As Search Continues:
We’re aware that other news outlets have reported that their may have been more than one shooter. But there have not been any official statements to that effect. Emergency personnel have spoken on their radio broadcasts of a “possible” second suspect in the building. As you would expect, police are sweeping the building. Earlier, there were reports of a gunman barricaded in a room.
There’s also no official word yet on the number of people injured and possibly killed. The latest statement from the Navy repeats that “several people were injured and there are reports of fatalities.”
Update at 10:32 a.m. ET. “A Lot Of Criticals.”
Sobering news from the emergency personnel radio traffic: “We have a lot of criticals.”
Update at 10:22 a.m. ET. Flying Again At Reagan National:
The Washington Airports Authority “says the ground stop that had been in effect at Reagan National has now been lifted,” NPR’s Brian Naylor tells us.
Update at 10:10 a.m. ET. Obama Briefed:
“The president has been briefed several times about the unfolding situation at the Washington Navy Yard by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromanaco,” the White House says.
Update at 10:03 a.m. ET. Only Outbound Flights Affected:
NPR’s Brian Naylor tells us that “according to the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, the FAA has requested a stop on all outbound flights from Reagan National. Inbound flights are still landing, and the airport is open. But no planes are taking off.”
Update at 9:54 a.m. ET. Reagan Airport On Hold:
Flights into the nearby Reagan National Airport are on hold, and flights on the ground are behind held. There are a lot of helicopters in the air around the Navy Yard, as you might imagine.
Update at 9:40 a.m. ET. Gunman Barricaded In Room?
The Washington Post tweets that:
Update at 9:32 a.m. ET. “Shotgun Or Rifle”:
According to WAMU, “a possible suspect armed with a shotgun or rifle has shot and injured at least four people. A police officer has also been reportedly shot.” D.C. emergency personnel have been heard on their radio calls saying that a police officer was “struck twice in the leg.”
Update at 9:25 a.m. ET. Report: “At Least Three People” Shot.
“D.C. police are looking for a suspect they say shot at least three people at the Washington Navy Yard,” The Washington Post writes.
Update at 9:22 a.m. ET. Emergency Radio Calls:
There’s a live stream of fire and emergency personnel’s radio calls here.
Update at 9:13 a.m. ET. At Least One Person Injured:
The Navy tweets that it “confirms 1 injury. “Shelter in place” order issued for Navy Yard personnel. #NavyYardShooting.”
Update at 9:10 a.m. ET. Live Coverage:
Washington’s News Channel 8 live coverage is streaming here.
Update at 9:01 a.m. ET. About The Building Where The Shooting Has Occurred.
The Navy just posted this news release:
WASHINGTON (NNS) — An active shooter was reported inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building (Bldg. 197) on the Washington Navy Yard at 8:20 a.m. (Eastern Time).
There is one confirmed injury. Emergency personnel are on scene and a “shelter in place” order has been issued for Navy Yard personnel.
The Naval Sea Systems Command’s headquarters is the work place for about 3,000 people.
The organization is comprised of command staff, headquarters directorates, affiliated Program Executive Offices (PEOs) and numerous field activities. Together, we engineer, build, buy and maintain ships, submarines and combat systems that meet the Fleet’s current and future operational requirements.
Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands. With a fiscal year budget of nearly $30 billion, NAVSEA accounts for one quarter of the Navy’s entire budget. With a force of 60,000 civilian, military and contract support personnel, NAVSEA engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and their combat systems.