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At Least 13 Killed in Washington Navy Yard Shooting


WASHINGTON (WSJ): At least 13 people were killed, including a suspected gunman, and others were injured in a shooting spree Monday morning at the U.S. Navy Yard in southeast Washington, city officials said. Authorities said they were searching for another potential shooter.

Law-enforcement officials identified the dead suspected gunman as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Texas, who they said had worked as a civilian contractor for the military. Authorities identified him from fingerprints taken from his body.

Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Mr. Alexis died in a gun battle with officers.

A U.S. official said Mr. Alexis joined the Navy in 2007, and was kicked out of the military in 2011 as a result of a gun arrest in Fort Worth, Texas. One official said he may have used another person’s badge to gain access to the Navy yard.

According to a Fort Worth Police Department report, Mr. Alexis was arrested in September 2010 for discharging a gun in his apartment, sending a bullet into an apartment upstairs. The woman who lived there said Mr. Alexis had complained she had made too much noise, according to the report.

Mr. Alexis told police he had fired the gun accidentally when he was cleaning it. No one was injured and no charges were filed, according to the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.

Law-enforcement officials scrambled Monday to apprehend suspects after the shootings began at about 8:30 a.m. at the naval facility located near the U.S. Capitol complex and Washington Nationals stadium.

It wasn’t immediately known what the motive for the shooting may have been. Two federal officials said it didn’t appear the incident had a connection to terrorism.

Initial reports about the shooting said there was one gunman. But Chief Lanier said at a midday news briefing there may be two other suspects in addition to the dead suspect, including a white male in a khaki military uniform and a black male apparently in his 50s wearing an olive military-style uniform. Later, police said the white male had been identified and is “not a suspect or a person of interest.”

Dozens of police vehicles, ambulances and firetrucks clogged the streets in front of the Navy Yard in response to the shootings, which occurred during Washington’s morning rush hour.

Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, said the hospital received three patients with gunshot wounds, all of whom were in critical condition but were alert and responsive. They included a male Washington police officer with multiple gunshot wounds to his legs and two female civilians, one of whom had been shot in the shoulder and the other who had gunshot wounds to her head and hand.

“Their chances of survival are very good,” she said.

An official at George Washington University Hospital said one victim died in that hospital after sustaining a “single gunshot wound to the head.”

The incident put Washington on alert less than a week after the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. U.S. Capitol Police said Capitol Hill was under enhanced security procedures but there was no known threat on the grounds. Security was stepped up at other federal buildings around the city, including near the White House complex.

The police response snarled traffic, with the closing of some roads and at least one bridge into the city, the 11th Street bridge over the Anacostia River. The Federal Aviation Administration said Reagan National Airport, located across the Potomac River from downtown Washington, was temporarily closed to outgoing flights but that operations had resumed. Several schools in the area were put under lockdown, a move Washington officials said was done as a precaution.

Lt. Lauren Dempsey, a Navy spokeswoman, said workers inside the complex’s building 197 were ordered to remain in place as officials pursued the shooter.

Building 197 is home to Naval Sea Systems Command. About 3,000 people work in the headquarters of the naval unit. The command is in charge of procuring, engineering and building Navy ships and submarines, and is the largest of the five system commands. Overall, the command employs 60,000 people.

A law-enforcement official and a witness at the scene said a gunman walked up to the entrance to the facility and began shooting. The gunman fired on a number of people and then ran into the building, the official and the witness said. Initial reports said that gunman was carrying one or more weapons, including a long gun like a rifle or shotgun.

Hasan Pehlivan, who identified himself as head of machinery and technicians for the Navy, said he was in his office on the second floor of 197 when an alarm went off and employees were told to take shelter. Workers were told that the shooter was on the building’s fourth floor, where many of the top officers work.

“People on the fourth floor heard shooting and screaming,” he said after being evacuated from the base. “They said it sounded like two people shooting back and forth.”

A second Navy employee who asked not to be identified said he was working on the fifth floor when he heard a loud bang in the building. “It sounded like a table dropping,” he said after wiping his eyes of tears and calling his son to let him know he was safe. “Then we heard the second one and took off.”

The witness said he heard about six shots in the building before he and other workers got out.

Top counterterrorism officials briefed President Barack Obama several times about the shootings, according to a White House official. Mr. Obama was briefed by Lisa Monaco, the White House senior counterterrorism official, and Alyssa Mastromonaco, the president’s deputy chief of staff.

Mr. Obama said the shooting was a tragedy and his thoughts and prayers were with those who were injured and killed.

“They’re patriots, and they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn’t have expected here at home,” he said from the White House, where his speech marking the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis was delayed by the shooting.

The president said the U.S. will thoroughly investigate what happened and hold responsible “whoever carried out this cowardly act.”

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For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point