Police in Washington D.C. responded to an “ear witness” report of a shooting by shutting down the Navy Yard.
Staff were rushed into shelters as the police shut down the complex, which suffered an armed attack in 2013, reports RT. Despite the dramatic scenes, local media is now reporting that the alleged shooter at the naval complex was in fact a hoax.
Navy Yard lockdown enforced while police searched the area
No shooter has been found, and it has now been confirmed that reports of the shooter were fictional. NBC4 reports that security at the Navy Yard have found the person who called in with the reports, and they are being questioned.
Fox News carried reports that at least one person had fallen victim to the alleged shooter, although authorities have since told local media that no one has been hurt. The facility has now been given the all clear.
Hundreds of officers searched the grounds, concentrating their attention on building 197, which was the site of a previous shooting in 2013. Officials have since confirmed that no sign of a shooting was discovered, no arrests were made, and no weapons were found.
There is a massive police presence around the Naval Yard, with neighboring streets all closed off to traffic.
Hoax shooting reported at historic Navy Yard
It is thought that the incident took place around 7.30 a.m. local time, and various local news stations began relaying information. Petty Officer 1st Class Pedro Rodriguez was able to confirm that the building had been placed on lockdown, but provided no further information.
Prior to the alleged shooting, both the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had warned the U.S. population to be vigilant of potential threats over Independence Day weekend.
The Navy Yard was opened in the early 19th Century and is the oldest naval installation, and is situated less than a mile south of the Capitol on the Anacostia River. It was the site of a mass shooting in September 2013, when former contract worker Aaron Alexis killed 12 people and wounded 3 others before being shot and killed by police. The 12 deaths made it the second-worst shooting at a U.S. military base; the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood is the worst.
Lessons learned from previous shooting
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed that “at this time there is no evidence of gun shots, there is no evidence of a shooter and there is no evidence of any victims today.”
Lessons were learned from the tragic 2013 shooting, and officials were full of praise for emergency crews and Navy Yard workers. “It appears that all the things we tried to correct and make better from the last incident went well,” said DCPD Police Chief Kathy Lanier.
Naval Architect Jordan Rongers said that the response and evacuation were “pretty much the same thing as happened three years ago, but I think the response has been much better,” praising the impact of improved protocols and security.
Pennsylvania Avenue, which passes in front of the White House, was closed as a precautionary measure. According to an official, the closure is standard procedure if an incident is reported at the Navy Yard.
Despite the disruption it is encouraging to hear that security at the Navy Yard has improved since the 2013 incident, and officials are doing a better job of properly protecting military personnel.