At Least One Gunman Kills 13 at U.S. Navy Headquarters

Unknown assailant (or assailants) shoots several inside secure compound

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Alex Wong / Getty Images

Police arrive at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 16, 2013 in response to a shooting.

The historic Washington Navy Yard — the U.S. Navy’s oldest shore installation—was locked down Monday following an apparent gun rampage that left at least 13 people, including one shooter, dead.

The motive for the shootings remains unknown, Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, as she announced the mounting toll. She added that police are still looking for one additional suspect.

“4 killed and 8 injured. One shooter down,” Ed Buclatin, a Navy spokesman, tweeted earlier in the day. “Reports of at least TWO shooters involved….Shooter is cornered in Bldg 197.” Air-traffic control officials at the capital’s Reagan National Airport, just across the Potomac River from the Navy Yard, briefly grounded flights following the shootings.

“An active shooter was reported inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building (Bldg. 197) on the Washington Navy Yard at 8:20 a.m. (Eastern Time),” the Navy said in its initial statement. “Emergency personnel remain on scene and a ‘shelter in place’ order has been issued for Navy Yard personnel.” The Navy Yard is a walled compound with restricted access and tight security. There was no word on how the shooters may have gained entry with weapons.

Naval Sea Systems Command—NAVSEA—is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands, and about 3,000 people work in its headquarters building. With a fiscal year budget of nearly $30 billion, NAVSEA accounts for one quarter of the Navy’s entire budget. With a force of 60,000 civilian, military and contract support personnel, the command designs, builds, buys and maintains the Navy fleet.

The Navy Yard is a one-time shipyard and ordnance facility located on 126 acres in the southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. about a mile south of the U.S. Capitol. It is the ceremonial home of the U.S. Navy, and the home of the Navy’s top officer, the chief of naval operations, is on its grounds. In 1996, Admiral Jeremy “Mike” Boorda killed himself with a shot to the chest as he sat on a bench outside that house — his residence as CNO — after Newsweek reporters raised questions about a pair of combat medals he had been wearing.