There was an eerie feeling of deja vu in Washington, D.C. on Thursday as police searched the same Navy yard where a lone gunmen killed 12 and injured three people two years ago. After USA Today reported two active shooters on the premises and a source told The Associated Press that gunshots had been reported, the Washington Naval Yard has been put on lockdown as law enforcement continues their investigation of the incident. While law enforcement officials have not confirmed a shooting so far, the memory of the 2013 shooting is still fresh, raising one glaring question: why this Navy yard again?
In a disturbingly familiar scene, security forces on Thursday morning made their way into Building 197, the same exact building where the 2013 shooting took place, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department told CNN. Navy personnel and staff took shelter as the building remained on lockdown, but the police have been able to clear part of the building. According to the Metropolitan Police Department source, original 911 calls reported a shooting on the second floor of the building. As of 10:14 a.m., authorities have confirmed that the premises are "all clear," according to ABC News.
Navy Lieutenant Commander Scott Williams, who was at the yard Thursday morning but was escorted out by authorities, told CNN's New Day that the scene was "pretty much a mirror image of 2013." Naval Architect Jordan Rongers added that though the evacuation process was "pretty much the same thing as happened [two] years ago, but I think the response has been much better."
It's understandable why the incident from two years ago has stayed with them for so long. On September 16, 2013, lone gunman Aaron Alexis opened fire on the Navy yard near Building 197, killing 12 people and injuring three others. The incident ended with police shooting and killing Alexis.
After the shooting, authorities found substantial evidence that Alexis had suffered from mental illness. An FBI official confirmed that Alexis was under "the delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves." The FBI also found a message on Alexis's computer that read:
Ultra low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last 3 months. And to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this.
While officials are now calling Thursday's incident a "false alarm," it is still important to note why everything went down the way it did at the Washington Navy Yard that morning. Given that the tension from the 2013 shooting has barely subsided, any suspicion of a possible gunman on the premises, however slight, would prompt anyone to call 911, which officials say is what happened when someone heard a "loud noise" thinking it was a gunshot. And once that call is received, authorities are going to waste no time implementing the proper response and protocol that they've undoubtedly been working on enhancing since the last incident.
Though this second incident has likely shaken up the military and civilian staff at the Navy yard once again, their better-safe-than-sorry alertness could potentially save lives should — God forbid — another incident occur.
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