Story Summary

Navy Yard shooting

Shortly before 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 16, at least two gunmen were reported to have opened fire at Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard. The shooting left four people dead, including one of the shooters and injured eight others; two police officers were also reported to have been shot.

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By Richard Simon, David S. Cloud and Brian Bennett

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — The 34-year-old former Navy Reserve electrician’s mate identified as the gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard had been discharged from the service in 2011 after multiple disciplinary infractions, a Navy officer said Monday.

Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas, “had a pattern of misconduct,” the official said.

navy yard shooting2Law enforcement officials have identified Alexis as the lone shooter who went on a two-hour rampage at the sprawling naval base in Washington before he was shot to death by security.  Officials have not yet said what they believe was his motive.

Alexis, a native of New York, served in the Navy Reserve from 2007 to 2011, when he received a general discharge, which usually signals there had been problems. Alexis was arrested but not charged in a gun incident in Seattle in 2004 but still had a security clearance with a military contractor that allowed him access to the Navy Yard, officials said.

Alexis entered Navy Yard early Monday morning with his legal pass, authorities said.

Once inside, officials said, he headed for the massive Building 197, the headquarters of the Navy Sea Systems Command. Armed with three weapons, including an AR-15 rifle, he went to the building’s fourth floor, according to officials. About 8:15 a.m., according to witness accounts and police dispatch recordings, the gunman began shooting down into a crowded atrium that houses an employee cafeteria.

Washington police and Navy security officials engaged in “multiple” exchanges of fire with Alexis over the next two hours, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters, eventually shooting and killing him.

In addition to the 12 people killed, three others were treated at a hospital, with two requiring surgery. All three are expected to recover, hospital officials said. Officials said other people may have suffered injuries that did not require hospitalization. The ages of those killed ranged in age from 46 to 73 and were civilians.

From 2008 until his discharge in 2011, Alexis was a member of an aviation support squadron based in Fort Worth, Texas, where he worked on C-40s, a military version of the Boeing 737 that the Navy uses as a cargo plane. Law enforcement officials said that he was more recently working as a military contractor.

On Sept. 5, 2010, he was arrested in Fort Worth on suspicion of discharging a weapon. Alexis reportedly told officials that the gun had discharged accidentally when he was cleaning it. The Tarrant County district attorney did not prosecute.

Alexis had lived at one time in Seattle and had been arrested by Seattle police in 2004 for malicious mischief shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle in what Alexis later described to detectives as an anger-fueled “blackout,” the Seattle Police Department said. The charge was later dismissed.

At about 8 a.m. on May 6, 2004, two construction workers had parked their 1986 Honda Accord in the driveway of their worksite, next to a home where Alexis was staying in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, Seattle police said..

The victims reported seeing a man, later identified by police as Alexis, walk out of the home next to their worksite, pull a gun from his waistband and fire three shots into the two rear tires of their Honda before he walked slowly back to his home north of the construction site.

Following his Seattle arrest, Alexis told  detectives he perceived he had been “mocked” by construction workers near and said they had “disrespected him.” Alexis also claimed he had an anger-fueled “blackout,” and could not remember firing his gun at the victims’ vehicle until an hour after the incident.

Alexis also told Seattle police he was present during “the tragic events of September 11, 2001″ and described “how those events had disturbed him,” the SPD said.

Gray also repeated earlier statements that police had no evidence linking the attack to terrorism.

About 3:30 p.m., officials began to allow people to leave the base, which had been on lockdown.

President Obama, speaking at the White House, praised the victims as “patriots” who “know the dangers of serving abroad” but faced “unimaginable violence they wouldn’t have expected at home.” He promised that federal and local law enforcement officials would work together to investigate. He ordered flags lowered to half-staff.

Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief operating officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, reported three shooting victims at the hospital but added that they expected to admit more victims.

“From the reports of the victims, it had to be a semiautomatic,” she said. “They’re talking about gunshots that they heard in rapid succession.”

One woman admitted to the hospital had a gunshot wound to the head and her hand, Orlowski said. Another woman had a wound to her shoulder, Orlowski said, and a D.C. police officer had multiple gunshot wounds to his legs.

The three were in critical condition, she said, but she described their chances for survival as good.

The incident began at about 8:15 a.m. at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command at the sprawling naval base on Washington’s Anacostia River waterfront.

Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, was in Building 197 when the shooting started. She told reporters she was in the lobby using the ATM when she heard three shots and started “panicking.” Then she heard four more shots. A security guard with a gun drawn told people to run, she said, and “I just ran. I thought of my family and I just ran.” Someone pulled the fire alarm.

Roughly two hours later, witnesses reported hearing more shots.

A federal law enforcement official monitoring the situation said that initial conflicting reports of more than one gunman came from a situation where a “second building” was being checked for reports of shots fired.

Officials ramped up security in all federal buildings in the Washington area. As a precaution, U.S. Capitol Police added personnel and increased security measures in the Capitol Building.

As helicopters hovered above the base, first lowering stretchers to airlift victims to hospitals and later circling the base in an apparent search effort, air traffic was briefly grounded at the nearby Reagan National Airport. Several area schools were put on lockdown.

About 3,000 people, both civilian and military, work at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters.

Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez said he was in an adjoining Navy Yard building when the shooting started.

“Everybody rushed in” to the building where he was, and security guards locked down the facility. “It was pretty orderly,” he said.

navy yard shootingWashington (CNN)[Breaking news update at 2:09 p.m.]

At least 12 people have been killed in the Washington Navy Yard shooting, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said.

[Original story, posted at 2:06 p.m. Monday]

Multiple deaths in Navy Yard shooting rampage; suspects may be on loose

(CNN) — Multiple people were killed Monday after a shooter opened fire in a rampage at a Navy yard in the nation’s capital, putting government buildings on lockdown and sending police SWAT teams rushing to the scene.

One suspect is dead, but two others may be on the loose, Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.

“The big concern for us right now is that we potentially have two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Lanier told reporters hours after the shooting.

Authorities are looking for a white man and a black man in military-style clothing who could be connected to the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, she said.

“We have no information to believe that either of those folks are military personnel, but we do have information that those individuals are wearing military-style uniforms,” she said.

Authorities said multiple people were killed and wounded in the shooting.

Who opened fire at the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command — and why — remains unclear.

“We still don’t know all the facts. But we do know that several people have been shot and some have been killed,” President Barack Obama said Monday afternoon. “So we are confronting yet another mass shooting. And today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital.”

Live blog

Obama called the shooting a “cowardly act” that targeted military and civilians serving their country.

Witness: ‘He aimed his gun at us’ and fired

“They know the dangers of serving abroad,” he said, “but today they faced the unimaginable violence that we wouldn’t have expected here at home.”

Earlier, authorities said a gunman dressed in all black had fired shots inside the Navy yard, injuring at least 10 people.

The violence started unfolding at 8:20 a.m. when several shots were fired inside the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command in southeast Washington.

Two witnesses told CNN affiliate WJLA-TV that they heard a fire alarm go off in the building where they worked, then saw a man with a rifle down the hallway as they exited the building.

“He aimed the gun and fired our way,” a man who identified himself as Todd Brundidge told WJLA, adding, “I couldn’t believe it.”

People frantically tried to run out of the building, Brundidge said.

“Everyone was going down the stairs. They were pushing. They were shoving. People were falling down,” he told WJLA. “As we came outside, people were climbing the wall trying to get over the wall to get out. …. It was just crazy.”

The injured included a Washington police officer who has been hospitalized, and a base security guard officer, said Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Saray Leon.

Three people, including the D.C. police officer, were admitted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center with multiple gunshot wounds. They are expected to survive, chief medical officer Janis Orlowski told reporters.

One person was pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital, according to Dr. Babak Sarani, chief of trauma and acute care there.

Meanwhile, at the Navy yard, helicopters hovered overhead. In one chopper, there appeared to be a police sniper peering out, with a scope at the ready.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a team of about 20 special agents to the scene, a law enforcement official said. The team was the same group that helped apprehend Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the official said.

Police spokesman Chris Kelly earlier described a suspect as an adult male, about 6 feet tall with a bald head and medium complexion, dressed in a black top and black jeans.

Victims in surgery

Emergency personnel, the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police and local D.C. police responded to the shooting, shutting down traffic in the area on the District’s south side along the Anacostia River. Some people were evacuated, and others sheltered in place.

Paul Williams, who works at a nearby nonprofit, was headed to his office when he witnessed panic at the Navy yard.

“I heard four rapid bangs — bang, bang, bang, bang,” he said.

At first, he thought it was construction noise, but less than a minute later, he saw hundreds of people coming toward him.

“I didn’t know what was happening. I just ran with them,” Williams said. “Everyone seemed scared. People were crying. People were being consoled and calling loved ones and family.”

Security was stepped up at the Pentagon.

At least eight schools were on lockdown as a precaution, the Washington public schools said.

Air traffic to Reagan National Airport in northern Virginia, the closest airport to downtown Washington, was suspended but later resumed, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The headquarters — the workplace for about 3,000 people — is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands. It has a fiscal year budget of nearly $30 billion.

“With a force of 60,000 civilian, military and contract support personnel, NAVSEA engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and their combat systems,” the Navy said.

The Washington Navy Yard — the Navy’s oldest land establishment — was created in 1799 following an act of Congress, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Originally envisioned as a shipbuilding and fitting facility on the Anacostia River, it serviced some of the Navy’s most famous early vessels, including the USS Constitution.

Burned during the War of 1812, the Navy Yard was transformed into a center for ordnance and technological development. The facility was the world’s largest ordnance plant during World War II, but its military role steadily diminished during the Cold War era.

Today, the Navy Yard includes the headquarters of Naval District Washington and is home to a naval museum. The area around the facility has been marked in recent years by significant commercial and residential revitalization.

CNN’s Barbara Starr reported from Washington, and CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Tom Cohen, Dan Merica, Larry Shaughnessy, Brian Todd, Alan Silverleib, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Joe Sterling, Paul Courson and Evan Perez contributed to this report.

navy yard shootingWashington (CNN) — One suspect is dead after a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, but two others may be on the loose, the D.C. police chief said Monday.

“The big concern for us right now is that we potentially have two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters.

Multiple people were killed in the shooting rampage, Lanier said, which sent police in SWAT team gear swarming to the scene Monday morning.

Hours later, Lanier said authorities were still looking for a white man and a black man in military-style clothing who could be connected to the shooting.

“We have no information to believe that either of those folks are military personnel, but we do have information that those individuals are wearing military-style uniforms,” she said.

Earlier Monday, Ed Zeigler, director of public affairs for Naval District Washington, told CNN that two suspected shooters were “down,” but a senior Navy official could not confirm whether there was more than one gunman.

“We will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible,” President Barack Obama said, adding the shooting “targeted military and civilian personnel.”

“We still don’t know all the facts. But we do know that several people have been shot and some have been killed,” he said. “So we are confronting yet another mass shooting. And today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital.”

Live blog

Earlier, authorities said a gunman dressed in all black fired shots inside the Navy Yard, injuring at least 10 people.

Witness: ‘He aimed his gun at us’ and fired

The injured included a Washington police officer who has been hospitalized, and a base security guard officer, said Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Saray Leon.

Three people, including the D.C. police officer, were admitted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center with multiple gunshot wounds. They are expected to survive, chief medical officer Janis Orlowski told reporters.

One person was pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital, according to Dr. Babak Sarani, chief of trauma and acute care there.

Meanwhile, at the Navy Yard, helicopters hovered overhead. In one chopper, there appeared to be a police sniper peering out, with a scope at the ready.

The incident started unfolding at 8:20 a.m. when several shots were fired inside the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command in southeast Washington.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a team of about 20 special agents to the scene, a law enforcement official said. The team was the same group that helped apprehend Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the official said.

Police spokesman Chris Kelly earlier described a suspect as an adult male, about 6 feet tall with a bald head and medium complexion, dressed in a black top and black jeans.

Two witnesses told CNN affiliate WJLA that they heard a fire alarm go off in the building where they worked, then saw a man with a rifle down the hallway as they exited the building.

“He aimed the gun and fired our way,” a man who identified himself as Todd Brundidge told WJLA, adding, “I couldn’t believe it.”

People frantically tried to run out of the building, Brundidge said.

“Everyone was going down the stairs. They were pushing. They were shoving. People were falling down,” he told WJLA. “As we came outside, people were climbing the wall trying to get over the wall to get out of the spaces. It was just crazy.”

Victims in surgery

Emergency personnel, the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police and local D.C. police responded to the shooting, shutting down traffic in the area on the District’s south side along the Anacostia River. Some people are being evacuated, and others are sheltering in place.

Security was stepped up at the Pentagon.

At least eight schools were on lockdown as a precaution, the Washington public schools said.

Air traffic to Reagan National Airport in northern Virginia, the closest airport to downtown Washington, was suspended but later resumed, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The headquarters — the workplace for about 3,000 people — is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands. It has a fiscal year budget of nearly $30 billion.

“With a force of 60,000 civilian, military and contract support personnel, NAVSEA engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and their combat systems,” the Navy said.

The Washington Navy Yard — the Navy’s oldest land establishment — was created in 1799 following an act of Congress, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Originally envisioned as a shipbuilding and fitting facility on the Anacostia River, it serviced some of the Navy’s most famous early vessels, including the USS Constitution.

Burned during the War of 1812, the Navy Yard was transformed into a center for ordnance and technological development. The facility was the world’s largest ordnance plant during World War II, but its military role steadily diminished during the Cold War era.

Today, the Navy Yard includes the headquarters of Naval District Washington and is home to a naval museum. The area around the facility has been marked in recent years by significant commercial and residential revitalization.

CNN’s Barbara Starr reported from Washington, and CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Tom Cohen, Dan Merica, Larry Shaughnessy, Brian Todd, Alan Silverleib, Joe Sterling, Dan Merica, Paul Courson and Evan Perez contributed to this report.

navy yard shootingBy Richard Simon, David S. Cloud and Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Officials continue to search for “potentially” two additional gunmen in a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, according to D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

“We potentially have two other shooters that we have not located,” Lanier said in a brief news conference outside the gates to the sprawling base.

Lanier confirmed that one shooter had been killed, but said that police were still searching for a white male last seen around 8:35 Monday morning wearing khaki military-style clothes and a beret, carrying a handgun and a black male approximately 50 years old, wearing a military style olive, drab uniform who may have been carrying a rifle.

LIVE: Real-time Twitter updates

Witnesses told police that both men were wearing “military style uniforms” Lanier said, but added that they may not actually be members of the military. The investigation is still “very active,” she added, asking residents to stay out of the area and in their homes while police search the area.

Mayor Vincent Gray called the shooting a “horrific tragedy.”

“As far as we know, this is an isolated incident,” Gray added, saying that no other military installations appeared to have been involved.

PHOTOS: At the scene of Navy Yard shooting

President Obama, speaking at the White House, praised the victims as “patriots” who “know the dangers of serving abroad” but faced “unimaginable violence they wouldn’t have expected at home.” He promised that federal and local law enforcement officials would work together to investigate the shooting.

The number of casualties remained uncertain. Lanier confirmed “multiple victims inside who are deceased.” Other officials said that at least four victims had been killed and eight wounded in the shooting.

Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief operating officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, reported three shooting victims at the hospital but added that they expected to receive more victims.

“From the reports of the victims, it had to be a semiautomatic,” she said. “They’re talking about gun shots that they heard in rapid succession.”

One woman admitted to the hospital had a gunshot wound to head and her hand, another woman had a wound to her shoulder and a male D.C. police officer had multiple gunshot wounds to his legs, Orlowski said.

The three are in critical condition, she said, but described their chances for survival as good.

The incident began at roughly 8:15 a.m. at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command at the sprawling naval base which flanks Washington’s Anacostia River waterfront. Several witnesses told reporters that the shooting broke out on the fourth floor of the building and that the gunman shot down into the building’s open atrium.

“I think it was all on the fourth floor,” Patricia Ward, one of the witnesses, told reporters.

Ward, a logistics management specialist, was in building 197 when the shooting started. She said she was in the lobby using the ATM machine when she heard three shots. She said she started “panicking.” She said she didn’t know what was going on. Then she heard four more shots. A security guard with a gun drawn told them to run, she said. “I just ran. I thought of my family and I just ran.” Someone had pulled the fire alarm.

Ward said that to get into the building, a person has to scan an ID card and put his or her bags through a metal detector. She added there is no metal detector for the body. She said that may be how the shooters got weapons in.

Roughly two hours later, witnesses at the base reported hearing shots fired. A senior law enforcement official said a gunman, who had been barricaded in a room in the headquarters building, had been shot and killed. The shooter had engaged police in a running firefight, a senior law enforcement official said.

A federal law enforcement official monitoring the situation said the conflicting reports of more than one gunman are coming from a situation where a “second building” is being checked for reports of shots fired. The official said most of the shooting occurred at the Sea Systems Command building, and that tactical SWAT squads were now canvassing the second building.

“We won’t know what we have until we clear that other building,” said the source, who asked not to be identified because of the fluid situation.

Officials have ramped up security in all federal buildings in the Washington area. As a precaution, U.S. Capitol Police have added personnel and increased security measures in the Capitol Building.

As helicopters hovered above the base, first lowering stretchers to airlift victims to local hospitals and later circling the base in an apparent search effort, air traffic was briefly grounded at the nearby Reagan National Airport. Several area schools were put on lockdown.

A D.C. police officer and a base security officer were among the reported victims.

About 3,000 people, both civilian and military, work at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters.

Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez said he was in an adjoining Navy Yard building when the shooting started.

“Everybody rushed in,” to the building where he was, and security guards locked down the facility.

“It was pretty orderly,” he said.

Hernandez said in a cellphone conversation that the lockdown was still in effect.

A White House official reported that President Obama had been briefed on the situation.

[For the Record, 8:33 a.m. PDT Sept. 16: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez as Navy Capt. Danny Rodriguez.]

navy yard shootingWashington (CNN) — One suspect is dead after a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, but two others may be on the loose, the D.C. police chief said Monday.

“The big concern for us right now is that we potentially have two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters.

Lanier said authorities were looking for a white man and a black man in military-style clothing who could be connected to the shooting.

“We have no information to believe that either of those folks are military personnel, but we do have information that those individuals are wearing military-style uniforms,” she said.

Earlier Monday, Ed Zeigler, director of public affairs for Naval District Washington, told CNN that two suspected shooters were “down,” but a senior Navy official could not confirm whether there was more than one gunman.

Multiple people were killed in the deadly shooting, Zeigler said, which sent police in SWAT team gear swarming to the scene.

Live blog

Helicopters hovered overhead. In one chopper, there appeared to be a police sniper peering out, with a scope at the ready.

Earlier, authorities said a gunman dressed in all black fired shots inside the Navy Yard, injuring at least 10 people.

Witness: ‘He aimed his gun at us’ and fired

The injured included a Washington police officer who has been hospitalized, and a base security guard officer, said Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Saray Leon.

Three people, including the D.C. police officer, were admitted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center with multiple gunshot wounds. They are expected to survive, chief medical officer Janis Orlowski told reporters.

The incident started unfolding at 8:20 a.m. when several shots were fired inside the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command in southeast Washington.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a team of about 20 special agents to the scene, a law enforcement official said. The team was the same group that helped apprehend Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the official said.

Police spokesman Chris Kelly earlier described the suspect as an adult male, about 6 feet tall with a bald head and medium complexion, dressed in a black top and black jeans.

Two witnesses told CNN affiliate WJLA that they heard a fire alarm go off in the building where they worked, then saw a man with a rifle down the hallway as they exited the building.

“He aimed the gun and fired our way,” a man who identified himself as Todd Brundidge told WJLA, adding, “I couldn’t believe it.”

People frantically tried to run out of the building, Brundidge said.

“Everyone was going down the stairs. They were pushing. They were shoving. People were falling down,” he told WJLA. “As we came outside, people were climbing the wall trying to get over the wall to get out of the spaces. It was just crazy.”

Emergency personnel, the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police and local D.C. police responded to the shooting, shutting down traffic in the area on the District’s south side along the Anacostia River. Some people are being evacuated, and others are sheltering in place.

Security was stepped up at the Pentagon.

At least eight schools were on lockdown as a precaution, the Washington public schools said.

Air traffic to Reagan National Airport in northern Virginia, the closest airport to downtown Washington, was suspended but later resumed, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

A White House statement said President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation.

The headquarters — the workplace for about 3,000 people — is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands. It has a fiscal year budget of nearly $30 billion.

“With a force of 60,000 civilian, military and contract support personnel, NAVSEA engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and their combat systems,” the Navy said.

The Washington Navy Yard — the Navy’s oldest land establishment — was created in 1799 following an act of Congress, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Originally envisioned as a shipbuilding and fitting facility on the Anacostia River, it serviced some of the Navy’s most famous early vessels, including the USS Constitution.

Burned during the War of 1812, the Navy Yard was transformed into a center for ordnance and technological development. The facility was the world’s largest ordnance plant during World War II, but its military role steadily diminished during the Cold War era.

Today, the Navy Yard includes the headquarters of Naval District Washington and is home to a naval museum. The area around the facility has been marked in recent years by significant commercial and residential revitalization.

CNN’s Tom Cohen and Barbara Starr reported from Washington. CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Dan Merica, Larry Shaughnessy, Brian Todd, Alan Silverleib, Joe Sterling, Dan Merica, Paul Courson and Evan Perez contributed to this report.

navy yardBy Richard Simon, David S. Cloud and Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — A shooter who had engaged police in a running firefight through the sprawling Washington Navy Yard was shot and killed Monday, as officials continued to search the base for two other possible shooters, law enforcement officials said.

At least four people in addition to the shooter were killed and at least eight were wounded in the rampage that began at approximately 8:20 a.m. at the Navy Yard, a huge complex of buildings located along Washington’s Anacostia River waterfront.

LIVE: Real-time Twitter updates

Roughly two hours later, witnesses at the base reported hearing shots fired. A senior law enforcement official said a gunman, who had been barricaded in a room in the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters building, had been shot and killed.

Authorities continued to search buildings in the area, said the official, but no shots have been fired since the gunman was killed.

“There could be more than one shooter. That’s possible. We’re receiving conflicting reports,” said Lt. Greg  Raelson, a Navy spokesman.

PHOTOS: At the scene of Navy Yard shooting

A federal law enforcement official monitoring the situation said the conflicting reports of more than one gunman are coming from a situation where a “second building” is being checked for reports of shots fired. The official said most of the shooting occurred at the Sea Systems Command building, and that tactical SWAT squads were now canvassing the second building.

“We won’t know what we have until we clear that other building,” said the source, who asked not to be identified because of the fluid situation.

Officials have ramped up security in all federal buildings in the Washington area. As a precaution, U.S. Capitol Police have added personnel and increased security measures in the Capitol Building.

As helicopters hovered above the base, first lowering stretchers to airlift victims to local hospitals and later circling the base in an apparent search effort, air traffic was briefly grounded at the nearby Reagan National Airport. Several area schools were put on lockdown.

Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, was in building 197 when the shooting started. She said she was in the lobby using the ATM machine when she heard three shots. She said she started “panicking.” She said she didn’t know what was going on. Then she heard four more shots. A security guard with a gun drawn told them to run, she said.  “I just ran. I thought of my family and I just ran.” Someone had pulled the fire alarm.

Ward said that to get into the building, a person has to scan an ID card and put his or her bags through a metal detector. She added there is no metal detector for the body. She said that may be how the shooters got weapons in.

A D.C. police officer and a base security officer were among the reported victims.

About 3,000 people, both civilian and military, work at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters.

Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez said he was in an adjoining Navy Yard building when the shooting started.

“Everybody rushed in,” to the building where he was, and security guards locked down the facility.

“It was pretty orderly,” he said.

Hernandez said in a cellphone conversation that the lockdown was still in effect.

A White House official reported that President Obama had been briefed on the situation.

“The President has been briefed several times about the unfolding situation at the Washington Navy Yard by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco,” the spokesman said.

“The president directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and FBI, as well as the local officials. We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site.”

[For the Record, 8:33 a.m. PDT Sept. 16: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez as Navy Capt. Danny Rodriguez.]

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