At least 12 people including a gunman have been killed and a police officer wounded in a mass shooting at a US Navy yard in Washington, DC, just three kilometres from the Capitol Building, and police are hunting for one other possible suspect.
Authorities have not said if they believe the attack was an act of terrorism, or even that they are certain about the reports of multiple gunmen, but a massive police operation including “active shooter units” of the DC Metropolitan Police and the ATF as well as officers of the FBI, the US Park Police, the NCIS and Homeland Security is ongoing.
The dead gunman at the scene has been identified as a 34-year-old civilian contractor named Aaron Alexis, originally from Fort Worth, Texas.
He was identified by photographic ID found on his person.
The DC Metropolitan Police chief Cathy Lanier told reporters during a lunchtime press conference that officers were searching for a black male wearing an olive-coloured outfit, and a white male in a khaki-coloured short-sleeved uniform wearing a beret, both of whom witnesses described after shooting broke out at the naval yard just before 8.20am.
The first reports of an incident came through just after 8.15am, when the DC Metropolitan Police received calls saying their was a gunman shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, home to both the Chief of Naval Operations and the Navy Systems Command, the administrative group in charge of designing and building US warships and their naval weapons systems.
As fire alarms sounded the 3000 civilian and military employees were ordered to “shelter in place” and according the Metropolitan Police Chief, Cathy Lanier, the department’s first active shooter response team was on site within seven minutes.
One witness reported hearing three shots fired rapidly followed by another four shots, leading to speculation that a semi-automatic firearm was in use.
We will keep you posted as more clearer details of the shooting emerges.