Navy Yard shooting: Gunmen killed 12 people, 2 armed men sought

Navy Yard shooting: Police were seeking information about two armed men, one white and one black, and both described as wearing military or military-style uniforms and as between 40 and 50 years old. The gunman killed in the Navy Yard shooting was identified as Aaron Alexis.

By , Correspondent

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    Law enforcement personnel are seen through the gate into the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, and officials said several people were killed and more were wounded, including a law enforcement officer.
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UPDATE 5 p.m.

The Navy says a gunman who opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011, says the Associated Press.  The Navy said in a release Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Texas, left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It's not immediately clear why he left.

Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy says his home of record was New York City. Alexis was one of 13 people killed during the rampage.

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The shooting Monday morning at the Washington Navy Yard left at least 12 people dead, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said, and authorities said one gunman is dead and police are looking for two more possible gunmen.

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier confirmed Monday that one shooter is dead, but said there are two additional gunmen that witnesses report seeing who have not been located. 

“The big concern for us right now is that we have potentially two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Ms. Lanier said.

Lanier described one of the suspects as a white male, last seen at 8:35 or 8:40 a.m. in a khaki or tan military-style outfit with a handgun. She described the other suspect as a black male in an olive military outfit and with a “long gun.” She described both men as appearing to be between 40 and 50 years old.

Police do not know if the possible gunmen are members of the military, but only that they are wearing military-style apparel, Lanier said. She urged anyone with information to call 1-202-727-9099, or 1-800-CALLFBI.

The number of injuries at the Navy Yard is still unclear. At a 2 p.m. press conference Mayor Gray said there a "few" people with non-life-threatening injuries. Earlier, he said, “As far as we know, this is an isolated incident.”

One of the wounded is a D.C. police officer, who was shot during an encounter with one of the shooters, according to Ms. Lanier.

Janis Orlowski, Chief Medical Officer at the Washington Hospital Center said they’ve received three wounded, including a police officer and two female civilian employees. The three are in critical condition, but are conscious and talking, she said. They are expected to recover, and are not talking about the incident, she said.

Ms. Orlowski said that she was told to expect more injured patients.

President Obama commented on the shooting at a previously scheduled press conference on the US economy: “We still don’t know all the facts,” he said. "We do know several people have been shot and some have been killed. We’re confirming another mass shooter and today it happened at a military installation in our nation’s capital.

Obama said the attack targeted both civilians and military personnel.

“We’ll do everything in our power to ensure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible,” he said.

The scene is still an active investigation. The FBI is the lead agency on the investigation, and is working with D.C. Metro Police and the Naval Criminal Investigative Services, according to a Navy statement

"I'm deeply shocked and saddened by the shooting this morning at the Navy Yard," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I have complete confidence in our first responders, and I continue to be completely focused on this very difficult situation."

Employees were ordered to “shelter-in-place” on the scene. No other navy installations have been ordered for a lockdown, a Navy spokesperson told the Washington Post.

The Washington D.C. Police Department arranged for family members and Navy shipyard workers to reunite at the Washington Nationals Stadium Parking Lot B, which is about a mile away from the yard.

The shooter fired three shots at 8:20 a.m. inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building at the Washington Navy Yard, the Navy said.

The Navy confirmed one injury in its first press release at 8:53 a.m. 

At 9:42 a.m. the Navy reported several people were injured in the shooting, but did not release a specific count.

About 3,000 people work at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters (NAVSEA), which accounts for one quarter of the Navy’s budget. NAVSEA is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and is responsible for engineering, building, buying, and maintaining the Navy’s ships, submarines, and combat systems, according to a Navy statement.

In total, NAVSEA employs over 50,000 civilian, military, and contract support personnel in 34 locations across the United States and Asia, according to their website.

The Washington Navy Yard, where NAVSEA headquarters is located, is the Navy’s oldest shore establishment, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. Established in 1799, the Navy Yard is now a ceremonial and administrative center for the Navy.

The Navy Yard is a secure military facility, with guards at gates and a large wall surrounding the building, according to The New York Times. It's located in southeastern DC, about 1-1/2 miles away from the Capitol building and 3-1/2 miles from the White House.

The US Capitol Police heightened security as a precautionary measure, according to the Washington Post.

Flights at Reagan International Airport were briefly grounded, and six DC public schools, four charter schools, and one administrative building were put on lockdown in response to the shooting.

The Pentagon is also increasing its security “as a proactive, precautionary measure,” spokesman George Little said in a statement.

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