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Navy Yard shooting: 8 wounded, 4 killed, including 1 shooter; other suspects sought

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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.

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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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