Law enforcement agencies including the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and county security personnel responded to reports of an active shooter at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland at around 10:40 a.m. Monday, according to tweets from the U.S. Navy and WUSA 9. The U.S. Navy also tweeted that no casualties or injuries were found. Employees sheltered in place for hours straight while police continued to investigate, according to NBC's Washington affiliate. Normal operations are expected to resume Monday afternoon.
Montgomery County Police told NBC a 911 caller reported hearing one shot inside of Building 1, which is the original hospital on the Bethesda campus. Reddit users used the Washington D.C. subreddit page to post live status updates and photos of their locations. Police said they still haven't confirmed that a shot was fired, but about two hours after the 911 call, police told BuzzFeed they had found "no indication" that any shooting took place. Police said they searched all but five floors of the 20-story building one by 1 p.m. Though the Montgomery police office said police operations on the campus were complete, Walter Reed employees who claimed to be inside of the building said they had been told to continue to shelter in place. Someone who claimed to be inside the building spoke to BuzzFeed around 1 p.m.:
I'm hiding. Not a drill is the only thing we’ve heard. Only message received was to keep sheltering.
Around 2:30 p.m., NBC reported that normal operations would resume on the campus — almost three hours after the initial report. Starks said no evidence of any shooting has been found after an "exhaustive search," according to NBC.
This is the second suspected shooter scare in the past week. On Thursday employees of the Washington Navy Yard were told to shelter in place after an employee reported what she thought sounded like gunshots, according to NBC. The false alarm brought back horrifying memories for employees at the navy yard, which was the site of the 2013 mass shooting that left 12 people dead. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told NBC that the employee who reported the gunshots at the navy yard was just doing what she was supposed to do:
We don't believe that it was a malicious hoax or incident like that.
Starks also told NBC that he believes the employee who reported hearing the gunshot at Walter Reed did the right thing:
We've always asked people to call police if they see anything suspicious, let law enforcement arrive and make that assessment.
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