New Information On Washington Navy Yard Shootings

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An update on the shootings at Washington Navy Yard that left several people dead.


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

At least 13 people are confirmed dead after a mass shooting in Washington, D.C., this morning. One gunman is among the dead. The incident began around 8:20 in Building 197 of the Washington Navy Yard - that's a military installation about a mile and a half from the U.S. Capitol. About 3,000 people, both naval and civilian employees, work in the building which houses the Naval Sea Systems Command.

SIEGEL: The FBI has confirmed that the dead gunman is 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, a former naval reservist, at one time, stationed in Fort Worth, Texas. And D.C. police chief, Cathy Lanier, said based on preliminary information that police engaged in a gun battle with the shooter.

CATHY LANIER: It certainly was one of the worst things we've seen in Washington, D.C. As officers entered the building and moved through the building, they were, you know, making transmissions and keeping command informed as what they were coming across as they went through. Multiple victims. There was gunfire still going on. This is what we trained for. We were able to pull active shooter teams together. And compliments to the partners here in the National Capitol Region, we were able to pull disparate officers from different agencies, put them in a single team and get them into the building within seven minutes.

SIEGEL: Three weapons were recovered from the scene of this morning's shooting. And authorities are still seeking another man for questioning. NPR's Brian Naylor joins us now from near the Washington Navy Yard. And, Brian, now what's the latest from the authorities?

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: Robert, we just got out of a briefing in which you just heard Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier described a really chaotic scene, multiple gun battles involving the metropolitan police. That's the Washington, D.C., police force. And the suspect - she said the suspect is believed to have been killed in the gun battle. Officials say they still don't know the motive. Washington, D.C., mayor, Vincent Gray, said there does not seemed to be any reason to suspect an act of terrorism but, he said, they haven't ruled it out yet. The FBI is clearly trying to learn more about the suspect. They've issued a photograph, and they're asking people to call in if they have any information about the suspect.

SIEGEL: Well, Brian, describe the scene for us throughout the day near and at the Navy Yard.

NAYLOR: Yeah. The streets were closed off, as you might imagine. This afternoon, metropolitan D.C. transit buses started to bus some of the workers out of the Navy Yard over to a parking lot at National Stadium, which is just a few blocks away, so that they might reunite with their families. I talked to one of the witnesses who described being in his office, hearing shots, hearing a fire alarm. Everyone then evacuated the building, and he was standing outside, talking to another person who had evacuated when that person fell to the ground, had been shot standing outside, shot in the head. And so it was obviously a very scary and chaotic scene.

SIEGEL: And what kind of security precautions are being taken now?

NAYLOR: Well, it's - things are starting to ease up a little bit. The Department of Transportation Building had engaged in a lockdown. It's about a block or two from the Navy Yard. The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol Building was in lockdown for a brief time this afternoon. Several schools were closed. Streets remained closed, although they've opened up some of the freeways. But they're telling residents to stay away from the area right now because they still don't know. There may be a second suspect. And so things are still tight, and they also announced the cancelation of tonight's baseball game with the Washington Nationals, just a few blocks away.

SIEGEL: OK. Thank you, Brian.

NAYLOR: All right, Robert. Thanks.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Brian Naylor from near the Washington Navy Yard.

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