Federal Offices Near Navy Yard Slowly Lift Lockdowns
This story has been updated.
The Transportation Department headquarters has lifted its lockdown after a shooting at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, according to an agency spokeswoman.
The department has two buildings just outside the Navy Yard, where authorities say 13 individuals were shot and killed Monday morning. The shooter -- identified by the FBI and the Defense Department as former Navy Aviation Electricians Mate 3rd Class Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old from Ft. Worth, Texas -- was among those killed. He reportedly was working for an IT subcontractor on a major technology project. The FBI is seeking information on another individual who may have been involved in the shooting.
Some employees on the Navy Yard have been released from their buildings and met family members in designated areas outside the base, though as of 8:30 p.m. about 2,000 civilians remained on base, according to The Washington Post. Vice Adm. Bill French, the head of all Navy installations, told the Post it could take several more hours until 11 p.m. or later to get everyone off the base.
The Navy Yard will be closed Tuesday to all but essential personnel, as law enforcement personnel -- led by the FBI -- continue to investigate. A Transportation spokeswoman would not comment on the future status of the department’s headquarters.
Several federal facilities deployed increased security measures Monday, including the Defense Department at the Pentagon; the Housing and Urban Development Department at its headquarters; the U.S. Postal Service at various post offices; and the Capitol Building, which also instituted a lockdown.
President Obama called for a “seamless response” in which local and federal authorities work together. Local police have coordinated with U.S. Park Police and the FBI, officials said.
In due time, Obama said, the nation will turn its attention to the federal employees who were victims of the shooting.
“We will honor their service to the nation they helped to make great,” Obama said.
The organization that provides financial assistance to federal employees in need, including after tragedies, is poised to help federal workers and their families affected by the shooting. “We won't know exactly what our response will be until we know who the victims are, but it is likely we will try to offer help to the families of deceased or injured civilian feds,” said Robyn Kehoe, director of field operations at the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund, by email.
J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said “our hearts and prayers go out to all of the employees and families affected by the shooting and to the police, emergency and rescue workers who bravely responded to the scene.” The union represents hundreds of federal employees at the Navy Yard in Washington.
Kellie Lunney contributed to this report.