Shooting at Washington Navy Yard: six questions answered
Four people are reportedly dead and at least eight wounded after today’s shooting at US Navy base
POLICE in Washington DC are still hunting at least one gunman following a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, a US Navy base in the American capital. Dozens of emergency vehicles have converged on the site, with helicopters flying overhead. The picture is changing rapidly changing – this was the situation at 11.30am local time (4.30pm UK time):
What exactly is going on? Gun shots were reported from inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where around 3,000 people work, at around 8am today, local time (1pm UK time). Police and emergency services descended on the site. One witness said a gunman had fired on a group of people.
Has anyone died? Four people have reportedly been killed and eight have been wounded. A Washington police officer and a base security guard officer are said to be among the injured.
How many gunmen are there? Some police reports suggest there is more than one shooter but the Navy has neither confirmed nor denied the claims. One police spokeswoman told the Washington Post that three shooters were involved. A later report suggested there were two. One of the shooters was described as a black male, approximately 5ft 10in to 6ft tall, 170lb with a black shirt and black hat.
Has anyone been caught? Police reported that one of the shooters was “down”, but it was unclear if that meant arrested or shot. Other reports suggested a gunman was hiding between the third and fourth floors of one of the buildings.
What safety precautions are being taken? Inside, staff have been evacuated or told to take immediate shelter. Police are trying to keep onlookers away from the Yard, with several roads in the area closed down. Flights from the nearby Reagan Airport were temporarily suspended and seven local schools are on “lockdown”. US President Barack Obama has been briefed several times about the unfolding situation and the White House has urged citizens to “listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site”.
What is the Washington Navy Yard? It is a secure military facility based along the Anacostia River in Washington. It is the US Navy's oldest shore installation, first opened in the early 19th Century. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is the largest of the Navy's five system commands. The Guardian's Washington correspondent Paul Lewis says it would be unusual for a non-staff member without credentials to be permitted onto the site. “Clearance and security ID are typically required to access the base,” he says. ·