United States military personnel have been instructed to shelter in place in a portion of Andrews Air Force Base known as Joint Base Andrews which is located just outside Washington D.C. and is frequently used by present and former presidents including President Obama.
UPDATE 10:45 EDT:
Officials now believe that during an active shooter drill, there were two personnel walking around with long guns and someone at the medical center looked out the window and saw that, NBC News reported. That person phoned in saying they saw “active shooters,” meaning the two people carrying guns who were engaged in the active shooter drill and who were not shooting, states CNBC.
UPDATE 10:37 EDT
It is becoming more and more likely that the active shooter situation at Andrews Joint Base was unfounded and no more than a miscommunication. The base had planned an “active shooter” drill today and it appears that someone simply got confused and reported a “real” situation when it was simply part of the planned drill. Better safe than sorry, I guess.
The base was scheduled to conduct an active shooter exercise, however, reports of a real-world active shooter situation were reported.
— Joint Base Andrews (@JBA_NAFW) June 30, 2016
UPDATE 9:57 PM EDT
Outside of the Fort Hood attack in Texas in 2009, U.S. Military bases are largely not attacked owing to high security. Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, was however able to get on the base quite easily given his access. He ended up killing 13 and wounding an additional 30. He was shot during the attack and is now paralyzed and awaits his death sentence for the attack to be carried out by authorities.
Investigation of the attack uncovered numerous emails linking Hasan withY emen-based imam Anwar al-Awlaki and subsequently had the attack listed as a terror attack.
It’s now appearing that the incident at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland is unrelated to a planned active shooter exercise that was scheduled at the same time as an actual active shooter situation. It’s too early to tell, however.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called the incident an “unfolding situation” while testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.
Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, says it has increased its “security posture” while the Washington Navy Yard in Southwest Washington has ordered “100% ID check” and “long guns at entrance gates” as a result of the news out of Andrews Joint Base.
Just last month, a woman strolled onto the base claiming to have a bomb and forcing a lock down and shelter in place announcement. Given that Air Force One spends quite a bit of time on base the threat was taken quite seriously until An Explosive Ordinance Disposal team determined she had no explosives and was arrested post haste.
Using social media to get the word out, the based wrote, The incident is ongoing at the Malcolm Grow Medical Facility. First responders are on-scene now. All personnel continue to shelter in place.”
While there was a planned security exercise at the base today, it’s difficult to believe that this is part of that exercise, though it is possible.
Public Affairs told FOX 5 “We are reacting to a report of a real world active shooter. The call occurred during an exercise. Because the report came in as a real active shooter we have to respond accordingly. We are treating as if it is and no further information at this time.”
U.S. military bases continue their spate of lockdowns this year owing to the fact that many personnel are armed and bases do have an inherent appeal to terrorists looking to attack. Unfortunately, over a decade of multiple wars have left a number of former soldiers suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues.
The base located in Maryland sees presidents boarding Air Force One often from the base.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.